On Cleaning Your Keyboard

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On August 23 I rang Eircom and agreed to switch my phone line and broadband back from Vodafone to Eircom. The salesman was delighted. They would take care of everything. It would take 30 days; the transition would be seamless.

At 10 am this morning, September 19, I lost my phone line. No dial tone. I rang Eircom and reported a line fault to a robot. That took about 15 minutes, by which time the phone fault had mysteriously repaired itself. My broadband line, however, was dead. I rang the robot again, and it said, “I see a fault has been logged for your line. This fault is being attended to by our technical team. The repair should be completed in 2 working days. There will be no further information available on this matter at this time. Is there something else we can help you with?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh, right. Hold the line please and I’ll put you through to someone who can deal with your enquiry.” Music — jaxx — interrupted by fragments of recorded messages. “…the first four digits of your customer account…” before I got through to someone, and told them that my line was back, but my broadband connection was now on the blink.

“What’s your account number?”

“I don’t have one, yet,” I said. “I’m in the process of switching back from Vodafone to Eircom.”

He checked my phone number on his system, and came back with, “You’re not a customer.”

“Maybe not yet, but I have applied—”

“There’s nothing I can do. You are not a customer.”

I rang Vodafone, and had a similar conversation with them that ended with, “You are not a customer.”

Never one to give up without a fight, I rang Eircom back and spoke to an engineer…

By 2:30 pm, I had run out of ideas. It seems Vodafone cut off my broadband 2 or 3 days ahead of the scheduled transition day, and I just had to wait for the Eircom machinery to swing into action and reconnect me.

I jumped in the car and headed toward Dundrum. I thought I’d catch “Tinker Tailor Soldier, Spy” the Le Carre classic story, which opened the day before. Half-way up the hill out of town, the guy on the radio told us all that he’d seen the film. “It’s dreadful,” he said. “Save your money.” I did a U-turn and went home.

“The devil finds work for idle hands.” With my mother’s wise words bouncing around in my head, I decided to use the available time to clean my keyboard. It was pretty manky. I unplugged it and took it into the living room.

I won’t take you through the sordid details of what followed. Suffice to say that it took an hour to remove and clean the keys and the best part of another 3 hours to put the whole thing back together again. So,

1. If you lose your broadband connection, go read a book.
2. Never take advice about movies from people on the radio.
3. If you pop the keys from your keyboard, don’t get them mized up. Lay them out in rows so that you know ezactly where each one goes.
4. This rule applies equally to the 4 arrow keys. Their layout may look simple, but believe me, it’s a puxxle to get them back where they belong.

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