In 2001, A Space Odyssey, there is a moment when an ape-like creature stares at a bone on the ground with an expression of intense primate bafflement, then picks it up.
There’s a bit of angry finger-poking, then our hairy little friend releases a firestorm of teeth-baring, fist-pumping, chest-punching screaming fury, smashing the bone into the ground and doing the ape dance of war, which mainly seems to be jumping up and down with tremendous energy whilst displaying the bottom to threatening effect.
That was me on Sunday morning.
Now, I am not a morning person. In fact, I pretty much run on instinct and caffeine until the shadows are short and the sun stands high. My mornings are quiet affairs. I wake up, put the kettle on, then look at my mobile phone to make sure we haven’t declared war on Kiribati or sold Gibraltar to Donald Trump.
The kettle was burbling. I picked up the phone. Nothing happened. It remained a grim black screen, as inscrutable as the mysterious monolith in 2001 (see above). I looked at the screen again. Still nothing. I punched the On button harder. This is the non-tech equivalent of shouting more slowly at people in foreign countries who do not speak English. If the button does not respond to the first press of the button, hammer away until it darned well does, I say.
Except it didn’t. More computing power than the entire Apollo mission sat dead in my hand, failing to respond to me hitting the button, holding the button or holding the other button, which I’ve never actually learned to use, but think it has something to do with the volume.
Efforts to contact planet Earth escalated. The cable was rammed into the power slot. CPR the screen. Jam down the button and count to 35. Hold that button and that button and swing it above shoulder height. Get it closer to the satellite, or the mast, or however this thing works. Offer up increasingly desperate prayers to which ever god controls mobile phones. Plead. Swear. Rant louder.
The truth slowly dawned in my non-morning chimp-sized brain. The phone was dead.
Unleash pointless temper tantrum, complete with howls of rage, forehead slapping and genuine foot-stamping like a frustrated toddler told ‘No’.
It was a display of utterly futile Neanderthal fury, equal to any primate of any size, but minus the aggressive bottom display moment, obviously. Mum’s staying with us right now, and she hasn’t seen my bahookie since the Beatles were in the charts.
If my call was recorded for training purposes, I apologise
Contact with Planet Earth was, of course, immediately re-established by looking at the tablet, switching on the laptop and checking in with the BBC on radio and telly.
The Beeb reassured me that we didn’t need to pull on the flak jackets just yet, whilst the tablet and the laptop both told me the shattering truth. The phone was indeed as lively as the Python parrot.
The phone is on a contract with a major network. So, I went to the website, which immediately wanted a username and password, neither of which I can remember. What I do remember is that I pay these people a stupid amount of money every month to supply me with a working phone service and the sort of care a customer should need on the sad occasion of a tech-fail killing their phone.
Sheefa was reassuring and calm as I explained the problem through the tears and the snot of temper and sorrow. That phone was something of a boon companion to me.
The phone is dead, I can’t remember user name, password and I’m crying. Sheefa was very helpful and asked about a million security questions to make sure it was me, from date of birth, where I was born and the name of my hamster when I was eleven (Nelson. Drat, I’ll have to kill you all now).
We were getting on wonderfully, although it was like being stuck in a lift with an overly nosy young woman who might be planning to steal my identity.
Then Sheefa said, great, now, can you just confirm the first character and the last character of your password?
I refer you to the earlier conversation.
Ah, right, said my new friend. Not a problem, we’ve sent you a text with a code on it? Can you just tell us the last three digits?
Unfortunately, those calls are recorded for training purposes, which means that somewhere in the world, there is a recording of a deranged woman letting rip with the sort of demented roar a maternally outraged gorilla might have aimed at a bunch of annoying little planes shooting at her boy as he went for a climb on the Empire State Building.
Fortunately, I unleashed my inner Glaswegian, so there is little chance that anyone in Sheefa’s call centre will understand a single word.