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Old school is best

May 20, 2022

When the cable companies began offering digital phone service there were deals to be had by packaging cable, internet and phone together. A lot of people on the island went for it. Mike and I did not. We kept the phone company as our phone services supplier. There’s nothing wrong with digital phones in theory – unless there is a power failure. Oops. No home phone and no way to charge your mobile to use instead.

While I was working in the garden the other day during the power failure, a friend pulled up on the road by the fence. She wanted to borrow my mobile. Hers was well charged, but she hadn’t topped up recently and had run out of minutes. I reminded her that my mobile doesn’t work at my house where there is no service whatsoever. She said she knew that, but wanted to borrow it, drive somewhere she could find service and use my phone to go online and buy more time on her own phone. Fine, I said, retrieving the phone from the house, telling her the password, then watching her drive away. It wasn’t until after she was gone that I realised there was a much more obvious solution to her problem.

When she returned sometime later, having failed to top up on my mobile because it was running out of charge, I suggested what I should have done originally.

I have two phones in my house. One phone (with voicemail) is cordless and stops working as soon as the power goes off. The other is an old corded phone that I use during power failures. I told her to come into the house and use that. But, how, she asked, could she find the phone number with no internet? Unlike her, I do pick up a phone book when they turn up. In the phone book, I told her.

So, we came into the house (which I’d warned was a mess and she said wasn’t too bad) and, after switching the generator on, made her a much needed cup of tea.

There was one unfortunate complication. My friend, a renter in a terrible rental market, has moved home a number of times in recent years. Her mobile supplier had one of her older addresses listed and she couldn’t remember what the house number had been. As I was taking my own cuppa back to the garden she was asking to speak t a manager.

Ten minutes later she joined me in the garden. Her mobile had been upgraded from pay as you go to a monthly plan, the provider now had her current (and hopefully long time into the future) address. She now planned to purchase a corded, non-electric phone and switch her home phone back to the actual phone company.

Sometimes it is wise to be an analogue woman in a digital world.

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