Monday, June 2, 2008

Truth on the fourth try

All we had wanted was a taxi to the train station, so our little posse could bid adieu to Sonny's grandmother. Instead, we got a trip to the twilight zone...

The episode begins with us ringing the 24-hour booking line to order up a cab. We're put on hold. Several iterations of inane messages later - they don't even bother with muzak - we are beginning to fume. Click. Down the elevator we go, trading Sonny amongst us and ringing again using cell phones.

Another 10 minutes elapse. It's Mum on her mobile now, still getting precisely nowhere and being told to 'please wait, the service staff will take your call soon'. So Pa decides to try his luck on his cell. This time, however, he gets a completely different recorded voice, reporting that 'the booking service is not in use due to technical problems'. Only Mum, having dialled the very same number, is simultaneously being told to hang on for service.

There could be a simple explanation here, one that would make reference to data centre mismatch, different switcher stations or some such (don't ask us, we made up those terms). But that would be too boring for words. A more exciting conclusion is that, somehow, Mum and Pa were transferred into separate alternate universes. In the one Mum was briefly in, the taxi company computer was still frantically trying to patch us through to an overworked call agent. But Pa was in a different universe, where the system had crashed and the agents were out having lattes.

Still, whatever the metaphysical truth of the matter, perhaps we should be grateful for the episode. We gave up on the booking line in disgust, were able to flag down a cab and reached the station with time to spare for hot ginger tea. Sponsored by the cab company, of course - at least, funded out of the booking fee that we never did have to pay.