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Disconnected

Living

Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

I HAD one job. One job to do while the roomies were away for ten days, pay the phone bill. Well, two jobs, pay the phone bill and not burn down the house.
The night before take off, Pops produced a note and some coins from his pocket placing them on the mantle piece. “Little pet, you’ve one small job to do.”
In a world of direct debits and crypto currency, the male roomie is old school, to put it mildly. In the age of emails, WhatsApps and people staring into their phones seeking interaction, the former sales rep prefers face-to-face encounters, hence why he pays the phone bill via the Post Office each month.
Sure if he set up a direct debit how could he ask how Martin was keeping and who won the GAA draw?
I joke with the male roomie and say the price of diesel isn’t half dear enough for him, such is the extent of his needless journeys when a phone call would suffice, but don’t mess with his methods. I duly agreed to the request.
Days went by and the money remained on the mantle, an unnoticed reminder of the outstanding task. A week or so after the roomies left, panic set in when I opened a letter (which in my defense arrived a week late) and I read stark warnings.
‘Failure to pay bill within one week of billing date will result in disconnection.’
I immediately picked up the house phone. Nothing. ‘Uh oh, Pops is gonna kill me,’ I said into the soundless receiver.
I whipped out my mobile and rang my sister with the news. It brightened up her day at least, as she stifled back the tears of laughter while repeating my reality. ‘You, you, got the [laughs] house phone disconnected [laughs], how will people contact Dad for his IT services? You’ve ruined his business! [laughs]’.
At the time it was pretty funny, but I was still faced with a predicament and only had 24 hours attempt to remedy it. I felt like I was in a really low-budget, poorly produced ‘race against time’ movie.
The following day I set about rectifying the problem. Two phone calls and an hour of listening to Greensleeves later, I had still failed to get through to a human. I was quickly beginning to appreciate Pop’s rationale.
A strongly worded email stating my case (delayed billing), and still no word. I bit the bullet, and the day before the roomies’ return, I worded a diplomatic text stating my position, basically telling them I had done them a favour. Sure who uses house phones these days? Not even Pops – he’ll just drive to someone’s house and ring the doorbell!
After a bit of Googling and research, it turns out the phone provider was dodgy anyway, so the roomies are better off. I’ve convinced them.
And for my penance? Well, the outstanding bill remains, along with a late-payment fee, but you can’t put a price on silence, can you?
And hey, it’s giving the male roomie more of an excuse to talk to people in person.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a thirty-something year old living with her parents.



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