Living in rural England, where mobile phone reception is poor and wi-fi hotspots absent entirely, the BT line goes down: No landline, no broadband. “We’ll try to be out within three working days”. I work like mad over the weekend, but with the line down on Thursday, three days means at least five for BT; and all the calls to India bucked back to the U.K.; and all the deadlines, and all the questions, and all the necessary communications integrated into our daily working assumptions become amputated teasing phantom limbs of impossibility.
If our water was cut, it would be an emergency. If our electricity went down, there would be a sense of urgency. When our means of communication and livelihood break down, the utility offers recorded messages and ultimately people with no remit except to say “No can do”: at first politely, but by the third buck in terse confronting tones of non-apologetic apology: “Back off”. How odd that something so essential to our daily lives and identities is treated so leisurely by its gatekeepers.