From Migraines To Ipswich

Submitted by Colin Whyles on Mon, 18/05/2009 - 22:28

Original posting Sunday, May 20, 2007 on MySpace

Yesterday was a terrible day. I had the mother of all migraines. Although I get migraines often several times a week, these days they are normally controlled by zolmitriptan within a few minutes and life continues. A wonderful drug with no apparent side-effects that has restored my life to me.

But this migraine sneaked up on me at 20 to midnight, an hour and 10 minutes after I had gone to bed. I reached out, found and took the Zomig orodispersible I keep by my bed for just such an occurrence but it was too late. I was incapacitated until 7 pm the following day (yesterday).

The day after a migraine I am bright and bouncy, full of life. So I started today full of the joys of spring; lighter and leaner by several pounds. 12st 13lb and 22% fat in fact. (Ask my scales).

Then I found my broadband connection was down. I has been erratic for some weeks. I spent a fruitless couple of hours talking to Orange support people, making at least seven phone calls to them, no doubt at great expense and getting nowhere.

The first supporter told me he only dealt with modems, not routers. I dialled the second who only dealt with routers on PCs, not Macs. The third number didn't get me anywhere, telling me it was unavailable to me, then put me through to someone who put me back to number one.

And so it went on. All utterly frustrating as I knew the problem was outside. I had already gone to the trouble of replacing my ADSL filters and router. And every time I rang, just to irritate me more I had to suffer the announcement "Orange is committed to providing excellent customer service". My arse!

In the end I went to one of my PCs and called number two. Then their script could cope although they asked me to do nothing with the PC expect turn it off and on, and they agreed to get my line tested. Next time I will say I have a PC whatever the case.

I then had a very light lunch at my favourite eating house, The Secret Garden in Sudbury. Highly recommended.

Next I took myself off to Ipswich, a journey I rarely do. I wanted to go to a camera shop and buy some new telephones because people tell me they cannot hear me on my current ones.

Long gone are the days that BT (British Telecommunications) tested every telephone on the market for its basic functionality to make sure it would work well. No; these days some quick safety tests and off they go.

But I sailed into Ipswich quite happily. Found easy parking in the underground spiral car park close to the camera shop. Had some enjoyable moments choosing a new head for my tripod, then set off in search of telephones.

After walking past at least five mobile phone shops I should have remembered that BT no longer has a high street presence. I finished up in a Curry's feeling agravated that I couldn't ask any sensible questions of anyone. The second example today that service in this country is dying rapidly.

A salesman asked me whether he could help and I told him how useless the telephones I have were. I noted that they still sell them. He suggested some others that he said he had himself that seemed OK. I took his word for it and bought them. They were quite cheap, after all.

And I began to realise what I find so aggravating about shopping these days. It is Marketing. On the box containing these telephones is a long, long list of their functions. But nowhere does it provide any information about their basic functions, which are signalling and transmission.

For you landlubbers, signalling is dialling and ringing, transmission is talking and listening.

Why are these not important any more? Do I care that there are 12 minutes of digital storage on the answerphone function? Do we not all use the network-based answering machine these days? And so on and so forth. Lots of hype, no information.

So my mood was going down as I left Ipswich, pushing my way through the unguided, drifting masses. Strangling one would have felt justified and merciful. Never mind, it had been a quick visit and at least I had found an attended car park. No need to trust my money to a machine's temperament.

So imagine how I felt when I saw that my change was being handled by an aging man in full 70's slap, all blue eye shadow and red fingernails, with cropped bleach-blonde hair.

Of course this is the age of diversity and we are expected, indeed we are bidden, to accept anything thrown at us without expressing or having an opinion or reaction.

So I won't express one. Full stop. Except what will we call on for entertainment when The Rocky Horror becomes the norm?

Does anyone remember the 70's cry "Stop the world, I want to get off!"?