The mobile signal in my area is crap. My broadband has been rubbish. My calculator broke – it doesn’t add up. This past week has been the perfect storm for technology breakdown, making me realize how much we depend on it for our everyday lives.
The mobile signal is the least of my worries; there’s a spot about a mile down the road where I can walk to to get a signal. That’s right, it’s the same place where all the mobile phone shops are. Get the latest handset, take out a contract, leave the shop and hey presto! it’s about as useful and exciting as the first remote-controlled toy cars: where the remote was connected to the vehicle by a length
Broadband is a different kettle of fish which, incidentally, has a faster and more reliable download speed. Turns out I’d been paying for a lead wire service instead of copper. This technology was so old that Antiques Roadshow turned up and recorded a TV special on it. Have you ever tried complaining to a monster telephone company? I can’t say the name of the company but it begins with B and ends with T. I’m still waiting for the service manager to call back ‘within the hour’, it’s been a day
My calculator. What has the world come to? They don’t make things to last these days, do they? When I got this calculator in 1978 it was top of the range. Along with all the usual numbers, +, -, x, ./. and =; it also had several function keys which to this day I still have no idea what their function actually is. No doubt they would gain a use in the future when time eventually caught up with this machine. So, at school, rather than delve into the world of higher maths and imaginary numbers we took the easier and probably even more imaginative route of typing numbers to make words on our calculators. Remember, this was uncharted territory back then but now almost everyone has written 07734 on their calculator, inverted the screen and shown the word ‘hello’
With a further bit of cunning numeracy we came up with the titillating 58008. But the holy grail was the word ‘bollocks’, virtually impossible to achieve. It became one of the infamous unsolvable mathematics conjectures for which there would be no prize money, only kudos and international schoolkid recognition. Thousands of maths pupils across the country were working at this problem night and day. Then all of a sudden, breakthrough. It was rumoured that some maths genius with a beautiful mind somewhere in Essex had found a solution… 5407709. Which actually spelled ‘Bollohs’, but it was near enough.
Ah, there’s the phone. It could be my call back.
‘Hello, this is your phone company beginning with B and ending in T.’
‘Ah yes, I know the one.’
‘We apologise for not calling you back earlier but we didn’t have your phone number.’
‘But it’s the phone number your company gave me!? The one I entered several times via the handset while trying to negotiate your swings and roundabouts automated system. The very same number you are calling me on now!’
‘We are sorry, Sir but for security reasons, if you could confirm your number one last time.’
‘Yes, gladly. It’s 5407709…’
If this post messed with your mind in a way you liked, you need to get Better