During September, residents of Broadstairs were set adrift without Three Mobile reception. Here follows a journal of how I survived a journey that would have broken lesser men.
It’s only when you lose something that you appreciate its value. Today I awoke as I would any other day and proceeded to polish off a spot of breakfast in the garden. Being a sunny day without a cloud in the sky, I felt blessed to be alive.
After I had cleared away the remnants of the bread and assorted cheeses, I continued my day, as I would any other, by checking my phone to see what the diary held; it was then that the clouds started to form.
In the top left corner were the words “No Service”. The panic began to take hold. No longer was I connected to the world. I was isolated and alone, unable speak to the people I love, unable to arrange plans for brunch, lunch and dinner with friends and most importantly, unable to confirm my afternoon appointment for a top up tan at the local salon. How could I show my face in the civilised world with my skin pigmentation at less than bronze?
I know calamities befall many people at one point in their lives, but this was above and beyond the ordinary. It was my Waterloo, a struggle for my continued survival.
Today I took control of my situation. I have crafted a crude phone unit from items I have scavenged. 2 plastic cups and a piece of string. Unfortunately the project was over ambitious as the string doesn't quite reach the 80 mile distance to the person I need to call.
Supplies are running low with no chance of calling for a takeaway. I have regular shifts of sitting in the front garden looking for a passing delivery driver to flag down. One went past a while ago but failed to see me wave my arms in hope. I have started construction of a signal fire for next time. The despair has not taken hold of me yet but it is creeping in slowly from the back of my mind.
My spirits were lifted an hour ago when a text came through saying I had a voice mail. They were crushed again when I could not call my voicemail box. Is help on its way or am I abandoned here, signaless and without mobile broadband...
My isolation from the world was disrupted when a passing seagull saw fit to land in the garden. At first our relationship was tentative, but we soon fell into a familiarity through gesticulating basic messages. Although it is Sunday today, I've decided to name him Friday to keep narrative cohesion.
As a gift for my new friend and to alleviate the boredom of not being able to make a phone call, I decided to stage a show. I'm not sure where Friday came from, but I imagine he was delighted by my rendition of H.M.S Pinafore, or so I thought.
After numerous costume changes and bellowing my heart and soul into the performance, I was disheartened when Friday did not clap as the improvised curtain came down, regardless of the physical impossibility of a bird clapping. Even a squawk or just a blessing with some of that lucky poo they bestow upon pedestrians would have meant the world to me. Alas, Friday was silent and motionless. Oh well, I try not to think ill of my new found feathered friend as opera is not to everyone's taste.
In other news, my takeaway situation has resolved itself. Tonight’s menu consists of seagull pie. I would love to share this gourmet bounty with Friday but he is nowhere to be found...
My isolation from the world of telecommunications is starting to take its toll. Darkness is encroaching upon my mind from all directions leading to a delirious stupor of my higher functions. I have begun to miss what many would deem nuisance calls.
Oh if only my phone were to ring now and the voice at the other end ask if I had a spare few minutes to take a quick survey. I'd joyfully respond to the basic starting questions. I'd happily divulge the personal information they disguise in the middle when the momentum is flowing and elatedly ejaculate answers to the last and most intimate questions they save for the end. Even the mentally violated feeling from revealing my inner most secrets to a complete stranger who swiftly hangs up the phone to prey upon another victim would be respite from my mobile melancholy.
Have you been mis sold payment protection insurance? YES, YES and a thousand times YES you dear sweet irritating automated voice system, PPI would be the centre of my universe and all that is good in the world if only my phone would ring.
It doesn't ring. In the distance I hear a seagull squawk and I'm drawn back to reality. I do miss Seagull Friday, we had such good times together. He was a true friend.
*picks yesterday’s meat out from teeth with sharpened bird bone and casually discards bone over should when done
My salvation. As I looked at my phone this morning, in the top left corner were four magnificent bars of service, each of them glistening like a gold bar in the morning sunlight. I was saved.
Although it has been a struggle, I have enjoyed my time disconnected from the world. I can now get on with the important things in life.
Here, as a wondrous testament to my survival triumph, is the transcript of my first call:
“Hello tanning salon. No Sir, we’ve told you before, the restraining order means you’re not allowed within a 500 yards of here…yes I know the beds are bathing suit optional but that does not mean optional before you arrive regardless of whether you already have the goggles on”