I’m in the telephone room of my condo building. Located in an unlit hallway, I have no idea where it is in relation to my building because I can’t see the sky from the one single window into the room. It’s lit by two bare compact fluorescent bulbs that illuminate . There is a mass of wire that flows into the room and separates into individual wires that spread out and flow into a main junction box. They’re like the roots of some grand, vast technological tree growing above us, taking sustenance from the graffiti adorned grey metal box.
The air is thick, and stale. The one intake fan into the room has been covered with a black plastic bag, and duct taped shut.
I have come here, to this forbidden place, this dark, grungy, forgotten room, because for the last three weeks, I have been without DSL.
To put it another way, I have had no internet connection for three weeks.
You learn a lot about yourself when you don’t have access to the internet. Little things, like how often you check the weather, or your email. Or watch youtube. Or stalk your friends on twitter. How dependent modern day consoles are on network connections.
In my case, I caught up on some reading and watched a lot of DVDs.
After multiple calls, and updated tickets, and cajoling, and speaking with customer service representatives to reopen tickets, and the phone company telling me that “everything works,” we’ve finally come to this.
A service visit.
I stare at the tiny oxidized prongs of bare metal that William, the Covad technician, is looking at. We’ve run a trace from my phone line to the phone closet on my floor, and from the phone closet to the telephone closet here, in the parking garage.
He points at the prongs again. They are tiny metal black teeth affixed to a wooden beam that stands almost as tall as I am. There are five rows total, and all have wires that lead to the ceiling.
“That right there is your problem,” he says, his voice hanging in the hot, stale air.
He points to two teeth in particular. They are bare, with no copper wire round about them, unlike their neighbors.
“You’re not physically connected at all.” He checks the wiring, the surrounding area behind the teeth. “No sign of any trauma or anything. Someone just disconnected you.”
I am angry at this statement. I am angry because it has been three weeks, and now, with William coming to visit, it is one hundred dollars for this service visit. But I am not angry at William. There will be words with the phone company, but now is not the time for them. Slowly, I become numb. My vision starts to turn to a cool blue.
A single word escapes from my lips. A single word that underscores my blank emotional state. A release of breath that escapes after all the emotional pressure.
I watch as William traces the wire from the grey box to the prongs. He cuts an inch off the wires and strips them to bare copper. Then he winds them around the black teeth that are connected to my condo.
Suddenly, the air doesn’t seem so thick and heavy, and all I can think of is turning Robert Browning into doggerel.
- The lark’s on the wing;
- The snail’s on the thorn;
- Net’s in my Condo –
- All’s right with the world!