I’m hacking these words onto a jagged piece of slate using a fragment of rusty chalk. Ok, not really, but I might as well be. I have been without home broadband for eight days and my world is pretty much grinding backwards to 1842.
How on earth did we get anything done in the olden days? My six-year-old recently asked me if electricity had been invented when I was his age. Oh how I laughed. Of course we had electricity, I told the cheeky young monkey – how would I have played all my 45s otherwise? But anyway. A few weeks ago I decided, for a number of reasons, to switch from one broadband provider to Virgin. It’s a very apt name, all the indicators being that they have never done this before. The exhaustive script of promises by customer service ‘agents’ is far too detailed for here and, besides, it’s an exclusive I’m saving for the ombudsman. Let’s just say that shorthand comes in very handy when said agents are passing the buck more swiftly than it takes to deliver a router from A to B.
Still. The good news is that at the very point we can’t possibly live without technology, we don’t have to. We have smartphones and Wifi and, in times of real desperation, my local PC-filled library. Twitter and Facebook are omnipresent. I can pick up emails and have even been able to track the journey of my elusive router (I’m sure there’s an irony somewhere). But trying to work efficiently on a fiddly smartphone keyboard and with limited access to documents has been even more frustrating than trying to stay one step ahead of a six-year-old clever clogs.
So until I’m back online I will continue working like it’s 1999. I’m ploughing through a print edition of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook doing research. I’m printing my way through a small plantation and after the next radio news bulletin I’ll dig out the Argos catalogue and peruse their line in fax machines. I might even get as far as the nearest café with Wifi and post this, but there’s no real rush to leave the house. There’s a rumour the router delivery guy is on the way and I wouldn’t want to inconvenience him now, would I?