It was like God reached out across the planet and touched us on the telephone.
Our much-maligned service provider told us something would happen this week, and in the spirit of miracles, it did.
We got our landline back.
Don’t laugh, because some of us still have an attachment to these ancient devices.
Mainly because they come entwined with our broadband bundle.
We have dreamed of abandoning the venerable artefact, but fear of a mobile data bill bigger than the bundle holds us back.
So it was a shock the week before to be catapulted into the mobile-only world of communications, even though we use the landline less and less these days.
You could ring in but it went straight to message which you couldn’t retrieve.
Why it did this was entirely unclear, but the impact on pre-millennials was panic.
How was grandma and the telemarketers going to get through to us?
And would they think we were snobbing them when we didn’t respond to messages?
Recriminations flowed almost immediately, with blame settling as usual on anyone who wasn’t in the room.
Had the mother-in-law vacuumed behind the TV while we were out and scuzzed the wiring? Did puss do to the phone cable what it had done to the shredded lounge? Had the cheapest cordless phone money could buy a couple of years ago given up the ghost?
So many questions, so little proof of purchase. Madness emerged with a call to the sub-continent. The worm hole of globalised telecommunication customer service.
My call centre counsellor informed me the problem didn’t seem to be the household wiring or my handset. My problem seemed to be . . . and I thought she was going to say, “thinking I could help”.
But no, she said the problem seemed to be at the exchange, and if that was true, then there would be no call-out fee. (But if it wasn’t true, she hinted there would be.)
A nervy win at best, and then she added the problem could possibly be resolved in the next seven working days, or sooner.
A suggestion that seven days without service seemed a touch Soviet fell on deaf ears.
Four days passed with not a peep out of the landline, which to be fair isn’t that unusual even when it’s hooked up.
Then a call came on the mobile from a technician saying he was in our street and looking into our problem, just like our service provider had said would happen, only sooner.
Then further unexpected news, the technician was at our door announcing the problem was indeed at the exchange, just like our service provider had said.
And greatest news of all, there would d be no dreaded call-out fee – again, just as predicted by our service provider (with only that slight hint otherwise).
We took back every bad word we’d ever said about call centres, mother-in-laws and cats, and invited our bearer of good news inside. We wanted to say thanks and maybe see if he’d check our dodgy phone sockets too, which he politely declined.
Talked turned to “why” our landline would go on the blink.
With a “I don’t want to point the finger” ice-breaker, our good friend started talking about the NBN roll-out. And how sometimes people forget to reconnect wires after they’ve ripped up your street.
Turned out on this occasion, it was our wire. We were so happy. Not because our wire got mangled but because our service provider said someone might fix something and someone did, in less than a week. Yes!