Freelance writers: number 1 phobia!

There’s a special phobia that relates to the fear of not being connected. Oh my goodness! What can it be called? I don’t have internet right now, so I can’t look up the word! I’m not exactly reduced to a quivering heap, and I haven’t gone to hide under the bed, so I don’t think I have this fear so badly that it might be given a clinical name, but I’m sure you identify with my predicament. The worldwide web is currently a stranger to my computer. I am bereft! My window on the world has slammed shut!

The hideosity of a mobile connection

Yes, I know “hideosity” isn’t a word, but I think it should be. It’s better than “hideousness”, at least in this context. In this country, the cost of mobile data is among the highest in the world. I don’t know why that should be so, but it is, just as my internet connection currently isn’t. So what would you do? I duly slave my phone to my laptop, but alas! It sometimes works, and the rest of the time it doesn’t. Whether it works or not, it seems to eat (expensive) cap. Should I move back to the city? Oh, the angst of it all!

The charming chaps from my ISP

The irritating thing about my ISP, Telkom SA, is that they seem to have the most charming staff that ever a company was graced with. You call them, and helpful operators, with a very limited range of things they can actually do, are willing to work their socks off to help you. It doesn’t help, but you have to admit they tried.

They tell me they can add “urgent” tags to my complaint. I say: “Yes, please, that would be wonderful,” and they transfer me to a customer care survey that asks how I rate the service. What am I to say? The operator was most helpful insofar as he or she was able. I rate the person at 10. Next, I’m asked whether I’d recommend the service to my friends. Ummm. Do they have an alternative?

The thing is, we don’t really have a lot of choices. Oh, we can choose a new ISP, but all that means is having two service providers: one for the line, and one for the internet itself. I’ve seen this in action. You call the ISP. The ISP says it’s the line, and you have to talk to Telkom. Telkom says it’s the ISP. Back you go. After a while you ask them if they can’t just talk to each other and sort it out between them. Apparently, they can’t. Sigh.

Boondocks service

It’s marvelous living out here where I hardly ever see or hear my neighbors. I have nearly a hectare to myself fronted by a lake and backed by a strip of nature reserve that’s rich in wildlife. I have my very own little forest of ancient trees. I love it.

What I don’t love, is the time it takes to get my internet fixed. I battled for a week, got connection for two hours, and that was it. I had to log a new fault. I waited another week. Even as I write, a charming gentleman called Mandla (a name that means something like “strength” or “power”) is at the exchange tinkering away with the wires, relays, and other things I know nothing about. He is, I am sure, applying his not inconsiderable ingenuity to fixing my problem. He’s a nice guy. He’s probably overworked. He’s trying hard.

Meanwhile, I’m champing at the bit. Should I make the trek to the veranda where mobile internet sometimes works and proceed from there? Surely fast, uncapped ADSL is about to happen! Go on, Mandla, demonstrate your power! You can do it, laddie!

When it works, it works well

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had fast, stable internet for periods of up to six months at a stretch, but my recent issues have sprung from intermittent to no internet over a period of two months. I’m assured I’m the only one in my area. My clients no longer believe me when I tell them why I’m behind.

Why me? I depend on internet to live, for crying out loud! Most of my neighbors probably use it for Facebook and gaming. They have internet, I don’t. I have almost wept at those charming call center people. I have greeted chaps like Mandla with open arms. I have been nice. Surely, my karma dictates that fast internet should be mine forever… Is there no justice?

I glance down at my status icon. Still offline. I rise (while still typing). I guess it’s nap time!

Footnote: Mandla solved my 8-weeks of intermittent to no internet problem – at least, I think so! I tracked down “nomophobia” immediately, but that’s not it. I couldn’t care less if I have my mobile or not! Could you? So WHAT is the name given to the fear of not being connected?



About andreadurrheim

I'm an ex-horticulturist turned horticultural journalist turned radio broadcaster and general freelance writer. I'm hoping to promote my work through my blog and find out more about other writers too!
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