I am typing this out in Notepad because I cannot get on the net. The task of dialing up to the Internet from my room at home is fraught with rigourous obstacles, requiring much forbearance and repetitive effort just to get a tolerably decent connection.
First, I have to access the village trunklines to dial out. More often than not, the phone system is clogged, and the lines are busy.
Next, if I get an outside line, I have to dial up the ISP. Again, busy signals, sometimes even at four in the morning. And if I have to hang up because the ISP is busy, I have to return to step one and contend once more with the village’s screwy phone system.
When the ISP finally answers, I have to hope that local line noise between here and there is enough for my modem to decipher the carrier. (This often involves me picking up the phone and listening for line static right up until the characteristic “click” preceding the whine of the ISP’s carrier.) If there is too much noise, my modem cannot log in, and it hangs up. (Or worse, it connects at 2,400 bps, so I have to hang up anyway.) Or, about a quarter of the time, it connects and starts to log in, then rejects my password FOR NO REASON AT ALL and hangs up on me. Back to step one.
To make matters worse, Impact is far from the best ISP in Manila. When it isn’t busy, it’s slow. Quite often, even after logging in, I am forcibly disconnected by a server timeout, or must unwillingly hang up when I realize my browser is returning nothing but “File Not Found” errors, and the little modem icon in my system tray is no longer blinking.
My characteristic equanimity does not apply at times like this. In especially trying situations of telecom horror, I have cursed, sworn, yelled at the air, banged on the table with my fist, and, once, dashed the telephone to the floor in a choleric fit. Not too dignified, I admit. But dealing with three kinds of busy signals and any number of connection errors on a near-daily basis can do that to a person.
GRRRAAAHHH!!! I should stop inflicting this on my febrile self and get to bed before my coughing gets worse. Good night.
(Well, since you’re reading this, I obviously managed to dial in. It wasn’t easy.)