Thursday, March 5, 2015


Hurry up and wait
Someone cut the fibre



In the "old" days of copper wires running between the Ma Bell's Central Office to the station on the desk or table, if the line was cut - or since most were strung on - what else? - telephone poles, blown down by wind or struck by lightening, the techs rushed out, found the malfunctioning wire and spliced the wire.

Then, in its wisdom, Ma Bell put the wires underground, protected from wind and, generally, lightening strikes, but still at the mercy of water, creepy-crawlies, and turkeys with backhoes.

Again, locate the wire break and repair it.

Granted, it wasn't quite that simple, but "pretty close."

Now . . .

NOW COPPER HAS BEEN replaced by fiber (or fibre) optic cable with not a few very thin optic fibers cocooned inside, but hundreds of very thin optic fibers.

Techs need the patience of Job to splice each wire with it's matching wire.

Just splicing any wire with any wire won't do.

So this afternoon I am waiting for Ma Bell's technicians to splice a fiber optic bundle - no telephone, no Internet. I do have a cell/mobile phone so I am not completely isolated, but it's pretty quiet in the neighborhood.

According to the Helpful Harriet who works in Ma Bell's tech support, typical outages are about 24 hours.

The sun is shining brightly here in southeast Florida. There is barely a gentle breeze. True, we HAD a little (by Florida standards) rain a few days ago, but "5 will get you 10" that the outage was caused by Barry the Backhoe Guy whose boss failed to check for buried phone, power, gas, and water lines. (I suppose it could be worse; what if a gas pipe had been severed or a water main broken?)

Trouble is, I'm expecting IMPORTANT CALLS AND EMAILS - really. I'm scheduled for surgery tomorrow and I need some pre-op information. My daughter, overseas, is pregnant with my twin grandsons and could go into labor at any time. Fortunately, my favorite Son-In-Law knows our cell numbers . . . I think.

We're spoiled by the Internet.

While The Spouse does a lot of business on the phone (I heartily dislike the device), we also do background stuff - researching products and prices - via the WWW. Our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to research product and prices then order on-line (unless the merchant is nearby).

One thing about the severed cable, it gives me an idea of how a new born must feel when the umbilical is cut . . . alone, isolated from Mom … Mom, where are you?? I can picture Eggbert and Eggberta having a conversation on separation issues. (OK, Eggbert probably was before your time. Look him up on the WWW.)

Ma Bell's Helpful Harriet promised that we will be credited with a day and a half off the next outrageous bill. I'd rather have the service, but Helpful Harriet's repeated apologies - something you learn in CSR (Customer Service Representative) school, no doubt - and the munificent $10 credit on the next bill will have to suffice.

Progress brings complexity.

Remember when almost anyone could tune a car's engine; when a really good mechanic could listen to the motor and know not only that something was amiss, but what that something was - and what to do to fix it sans a car computer? Rare to find such a person today even in the tulles (boondocks, sticks).

Progress sometimes can really slow things down.

TO ITS CREDIT, Ma Bell had the cable spliced before dawn - maybe 15 hours after the cut. Good work.

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