What. A. Day.
I had an exam today. Knowing how much I hate driving, Mr PC drove me into Worcester to sit it. The idea was that I would have as stress free a morning as possible. Well, that went by the wayside at the moment I turned up at school with Mr 5, and saw every other parent clutching a donation for the harvest service. Oh dear. I was so fixated on the exam at 10am, that I completely forgot about the harvest service, also 10am.
Anyhow, brushing this away with the knowledge that what is done is done (and what is not done is not done), I went to sit the exam. Personal Tax, if you’re interested. If you need help with your tax return, I’m the one to ask! The exam was fine. I was out well before the time limit.
Then I tried to phone Mr PC to come and get me. He had originally planned to find somewhere comfortable to sit in Worcester and read a book. He had changed his mind at the last minute and decided to come home again. Fair enough, I didn’t mind waiting half an hour or so for him to come back, particularly amongst shops I don’t often get to visit.
I couldn’t call. My phone couldn’t see any network. I tried and tried, wandering round the city centre, almost colliding with anyone careless enough to be using the same pavement as me as I texted ‘Come and get me!’ and cursed the fact that Mr PC’s contact details have magically been eradicated from my phone. In the end I used a payphone.
Payphones. I’m quite lucky they still exist. I called Mr PC, and was told his phone wasn’t available. Oh dear. That means not a problem with my phone, not a problem with me being in a random mobile blackspot, but a problem with the Vodafone network. Assuming Mr PC was still at home, I called and left a message. Then I sat and waited for a text back, or the signal returning, or some other inspiration.
An hour or so later, I was sat at the roundabout by the cathedral, wondering whether there was a bus route back, when what did I see? A bus with ‘Evesham’ on the front. I hopped on, paid my fare (half price because of the roadworks), and sat back, pleased to be going somewhere, and wondering where Mr PC was, given that he hadn’t answered the home phone.
When I was nearly home, I got a call ‘Where are you? I’ve been waiting for two hours!’ Poor Mr PC! He had arrived at the time I should have finished the exam, parked nearby and kept a lookout for me. It didn’t even cross my mind he might do that, as the roads are mostly no parking zones. If I hadn’t been so quick it would have worked perfectly. As it was he ended up dashing between the car park and the street every half hour as the parking he had paid for ran out.
All ended as well as it could. We were both home within quarter of an hour of each other, and made it to school on time to collect Mr 5.
Back in the good old days, we’d have planned in advance where and when to meet. We wouldn’t have relied on technology. Today, the technology failed, and I did two things I haven’t done for over a decade: Used a payphone and taken a bus. Back then, there would have been a plan. Next time, there will be a plan.
Oh, and Vodafone, here are a few words and phrases you should look up: reliability, failover, backup, redundancy, customer attrition.