How to start the week

Ah, Monday. A new start! Full of fresh opportunity, and excitement about what the week to come will bring.

This Monday, we have set the SNAFU dial on David’s life to 11. Let’s see how long it takes him to notice…

First, some context. My flat contains its own boiler. A little combination electric/gas thing. Somewhat flaky, but it provides me with an unlimited supply of hot water on demand and is therefore my friend. On Thursday night I came home to discover that my friend was dead and bleeding all over the carpet. After a quick placement of a widget to catch the water, some rapid consultation with the landlord’s answering machine, email address and emergency backup number I turned the water in my flat off.

The next morning an engineer came in and performed the autopsy. He pronounced that there was no hope and that the leak had completely knackered the electrics. This was an ex boiler. Arrangements were made for the boiler to be replaced on Monday, and my parents got the lovely surprise of their son popping up for a weekend visit to their hot water supply. I returned Sunday night, got ready for the boiler maintenance on Monday.

The start of the day was pretty chaotic. A lot more stuff than I’d realised had to be moved to enabled boiler installation. That’s ok. It was doable. My friend Michael had kindly agreed to house sit my flat while the maintenance people were here, as I had to go to my contracting job at Wordtracker for noon. Unfortunately Michael overslept, not arriving at my flat till noon. Never mind. It’s only a fifteen minute trip, and arriving at 12:15 isn’t the end of the world, but as a result I’m a little flustered when I leave. I call Wordtracker to let them know I’ll be late, but no one picks up.

En route I realise I’ve forgotten the key code for the gate there. It’s not the first time. I think I remember it, but I might have a permutation, or one digit wrong, or something. Hopefully it won’t be a problem.

I arrive at the wordtracker offices. As I approach the gate, I see that there’s a large crowd of people in suits outside it, having some sort of event. I think it’s a bit weird but mostly ignore it and try to enter.

As feared, the code doesn’t work, and the gate declares in a loud American voice “The code you have entered is invalid”. I imagine more than see the dirty looks I’m getting from the besuited people, but I’m sure they were there. I try one or two times, each time denied by the electronic American. I give wordtracker another call, no response. At this point I begin to suspect I have the wrong number for them. I try the code some more.

So here I am, standing there like a prat typing in numbers into the gate and getting admonished by an American machine.

When a hearse pulls up behind me

Not really wanting to interrupt what it now a funeral procession with electronic equivalents of “You shall not pass!” I beat a hasty retreat and attempt to find out the code through means other than brute force. So I check their website for contact details. On the amazingly shitty and probably ludicrously expensive net access on my phone (I am not yet among those blessed with a smartphone). I find a contact number, different from the one I have, call it, and get through to their customer support answering machine. Great.

“Ok”, I think, “I have an email with the gate code. All I need to do is check that email”, and so begins the ordeal of trying to read gmail on aforementioned useless mobile phone. I’m about 90% of the way through the login process I hear “Oh, hello” as I am passed by one of the wordtracker people going to lunch. Where they inform me that the code for the little gate is broken and I need to use a different code which opens both it and the large gate. They’re very nicely apologetic for not having let me know. No harm done.

So I sneak through the funeral (which is now looking a lot less jolly than it was pre-hearse), enter the code (which again results in loud electronic Americanisms) and get into wordtracker. At last.

To find that the person I’m supposed to be working with isn’t there, and the one person who is there doesn’t know if he’s coming in.

Sigh. :-)

Somehow I manage to avoid cracking up, leave my number for Marcus to get in touch with me if he arrives, and head out through the funeral and back home.

The rest of the story is a much happier one. About half an hour later I get a call from Marcus letting me know that he’s there – unavoidable transit delays and he didn’t have my number – and I can come in whenever I want. I do so, and we proceed to in fact have a very productive day. Further, on my return home I am blessed with a working boiler. Here’s hoping it stays that way, and the rest of the week follows on from today’s evening rather than its morning.

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