Sunday, June 23, 2002

Recently I made the switch from 56k modem to cable. On installation day a batch of polo shirt wearing, denim clad chaps arrived at my house armed with reels of cable, sufficient it seemed to rewire the whole street, and a sex-deviant's workbox of tape, splicers, cutters and clips. The first two workers took care of the wiring side of things, an industrious couple of honest Joe's, happy to slurp their tea and talk about the footy whilst getting on with their drillings and feedings. " I want the cable there and the box there. Umm, tea, cof...?" "Please. But we'll get cracking...running late you see."

I did see, and was thankful. Time-pressed tradesmen are often a bonus, (unless they're tempted to cut corners), it stops them standing around and chatting casually and chuckling agreeably before starting their work, tut-tutting about the state of whatever it is that is broken or the location of whatever needs installing; not caring that all the while the call out tariff is spinning in their favour like an amphetamine-fuelled dervish . "Another cup of tea?" You ask. "Don't mind if I do." They say. And in no time you're cursing your good manners and wishing you said: "That's the pipe, washing machine, boiler, TV; it's not working, fix it. And fix it quick, I don't want to talk about it, I don't even want to know what's wrong with it. Just fix it, and quickly, this is costing me money.

The third chap, younger, slightly more dynamic, a little less deferential, took care of the technical end. As I watched him sitting in front of my computer screen, tapping away on my keys, scrutinising my monitor I had the strangest feeling of being...examined, graded against some computer whizz-kid's taxonomy, the details of which shared later with others - points awarded for the inclusion of this, or deducted for the exclusion of that. How funny was this, how odd, that. It was a strangely intrusive affair as the new set-up seemed to require him to make a kind of "round the world tour" of the machine - laying bare and exposed the contents of my personalised desk-top, my, eclectic favorites cache, my, bizarre short-cut selections and off beat colour choices. I had the distinct feeling that he was prodding and poking around part of my personal lebensraum with the kind of faux-professional detachment expected of a doctor or surgeon - a cyber-gynecologist - "U..huh, this is interesting, ('but I have to be careful as to what I let on what's actually interesting me')", or the disinterested window cleaner: "I only care about what's going on, on the outside, so to speak: I look, and I see things, but I don't look, know what I mean? I mean, you'd be surprised at what you do see!"

It was awful. I swore it was only a short step before he started to open my emails ( he'd get bored with that quick enough, most of my correspondents send messages with business addresses and click here to see if you've won links.) And, as I walked out of the room with the sound of his tappy tapping and 1980s style yuppie-chatting filling my ears (phone clamped between cheek and shoulder in voice several decibels louder than necessary), my mind was filled with irrational thoughts. I started to think that the next time I walked back in, he'd be sat with a sparked up ciggy, in a fug-haze of blue smoke and smirks, a Devilish aura; feet on my desk, dissecting my favourites, ridiculing my layout and in mocking tones...reading my blog out aloud to his mate on the other end of the phone.

Strange - I have nothing to hide, but I felt somehow uncomfortable about this unplanned public-airing - not of the blog, that, after all is public, but the thinking which goes on behind it, the fruits of the private time I spend, is not.

(Completely unrelated aside.) I am very pissed off about "The Match," and if there's anyone, anywhere on the planet with a more punchable face than Ronaldinho, I haven't seen him yet.


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