Although I am long retired, today I find myself with a new job – I am now a cable TV technician. How did this happen?
My cable TV stopped working; the supplier’s box dead, dead, dead. No display, no response to either the remote control or the large “On” button. I phoned the supplier’s helpline; to protect their reputation, I’ll call them “Cold.”
The Cold automatic answering service gave me a choice, I could wait an estimated 40 minutes while they answered the 27 calls in front of me or I could press 3 to order a call-back. It seemed that I was not alone in having trouble with my system.
Without thinking, I pressed 3 and went back to my armchair – my problem was in good hands.
True to their word, Cold called back. I was roused from deep sleep, dreaming that my latest book had just won the Booker Prize, by the phone’s insistent ringing. As I fumbled for the phone, I noticed the time 03:00, yes, 3 o’clock in the morning.
Hallo, I said, hallo, much impressed by Cold’s dedication to serving their clients at any time of the day or night.
Alas, while the automatic dialing system had not forgotten me and was fully awake, the human staff were all at home, sound asleep; there was no answer and after a few moments the phone went back to sleep.
The next morning, after checking for a mail from the Booker Prize committee – just in case – I phoned Cold. This time I waited patiently for some 20 minutes until it was my turn and was rewarded by a “How can I help you” from a real, live person; a young student making some pocket money by the sound of it.
I explained the problem. The solution was simple, I was told, a new Cold Magic Box will be sent to you in a day or so. And a technician, I asked. Oh, no, we don’t have any technicians you must install it yourself.
But, I remonstrated, I don’t understand plugs and wires and things. I am elderly; your Cold Box is hidden away, I can’t bend down to change it.
Oh, said the sweet young thing, that’s not a problem, your grandchildren will know what to do.
And, in a day or so, my new Cold box turned up. The delivery man knew how to drive a motor scooter but couldn’t tell the difference between TV converter and a box of dried kippers. I was on my own.
After some thought and a few mistakes, I got the converter connected to both the TV and some electricity. I switched on and was rewarded by a channel in Arabic. To my regret, I don’t speak Arabic. I was rather hoping for Sky News but this was not on offer.
Back to Cold’s helpdesk. Oh you need to reprogram the Viewing Card, I was told. Just hold down the two buttons on the front of the converter while unplugging it from the electricity supply. Do most of your clients have three hands, I asked, but my helper did not have a sense of humour.
After a few very uncomfortable minutes, the converter’s display shouted “Booted”. Good, said my helper, now we just have to select the screen size, operating frequency and repetition rate. I wasn’t sure where the ‘we’ came from, I seemed to be doing all the work. But, lo and behold, after a few more minutes while the converter talked to itself, Sky News appeared on the TV. I understood why the converter is called Cold Magic, nothing but magic could explain the process of getting Sky News back to my screen.
I am now waiting for my official CCTV technician certificate to arrive. After all , I worked hard for it.
And, if the Booker Prize committee is reading this, my books are the Len Palmer Mysteries (lenpalmerbooks.com) available from Amazon.