On The Road With Dad – Chapter 11
There are 2 things on tour that bug us; crappy food and hotels that don’t offer free Internet.
The boys of N7 have taken care of the former by employing catering that’s better than anything I ever eat at home, so this only leaves the Internet.
Most of the hotels have been ace and Wifi has been given for free with a wink & the occasional smile. But a couple of places have been at the ’70 cents a second’ rate, which always really really cooks my swede. WHY do hotels make it an extra? Just hide it in the cost of the room!! Even if it means the room costs an extra 20 euros a night – I won’t know – as long as it says ‘free internet’ I’m happy!! Don’t give us an arse end rate and then charge THRICE that to get onto your poxy bandwidth!!
You can see how much this gets my back up. However, this is but a smidge – the tiniest percentage – of how angry it makes Dad.
I’ve taken to investigating whether or not you have to pay for it before arrival at each hotel. Not just so I can gird my own loins but mainly so I can brief Dad to prepare for disappointment. Sadly, whether I brief him or not, the news that we have to pay for the Internet is always met by the same beautifully predictable reaction;
– First the very loud tut mixed with an incredulous laugh – it’s a weird sound but he nails it every time – Breaks eye contact with receptionist to look at me and shake head with tight, forced smile that seems to say, “Can you believe this shit?”
( Yes, Dad I can – I told you before we got here. I was quite specific about how you should not expect it.)
– Looks down at form he has to fill out (further rage) while shaking his head and waggling pen over it ominously – like the address he’ll write down this time will really stick it to the man.
– Then the shrug, further head shaking with a muttered ‘absolutely meaningless’ thrown in for good measure.
– Then the final withering look to the receptionist before looking away again – a look that I remember from being in trouble when I was a teenager; a look that says “I’m not going to yell and shout at you, but I’m incredibly disappointed in you. I feel completely let down by your actions.”
This process takes all of about 10 seconds, meanwhile I’m writhing with discomfort inside my shoes because I know exactly how he’s making the receptionist feel – the receptionist who I am positive had absolutely nothing to do with the decision making of Internet protocol of the hotel, but who has taken the full, raging brunt of its unhappy customers.
Then you have the showdown saved for when the free WIFI doesn’t actually work very well. You never quite hear the whole swearword, just the ends. Lot’s of “ks’sake”, “grrrfff”, whatthefaa”, “’kinpieceofsh” alongside the obligatory banging of the keyboard (cos that always helps) and then arms are THROWN in the air, and an almost hurt look crosses is face. This is the point where I know the WIFI is being personified, and in Dad’s head, this villain – WIFI – is acting out on purpose because he’s a mischievous, hell-raising, dastardly curmudgeon out to get him – it’s a personal vendetta and he’s chosen – CHOSEN – to RUIN HIS DAY.
I can’t say I blame him for these feelings. I’ve inherited the inexplicable rage one can feel towards inanimate objects. I’ve often fantasised about smashing my own little laptop against a wall and into a million tiny pieces after I’ve seen “The Wheel Of Doom” spinning around on my otherwise frozen screen, and other times have imagined throwing iPhone from the highest window and watch it rotate and fall, in glorious slow motion, to the concrete floor where it dies dies dies, never to freeze or crash or render me unable to HEAR THE PERSON I’M CALLING EVEN THOUGH THEY CAN HEAR ME!!!!!!!!
Oh well. We’re now in a dressing room with an Ethernet cable.
“Ahhh LOOK, Jem – Ethernet – oh, yes – so fast, so safe – look! Can you see – WOW – look how fast it is!” he yells, beaming. “Jem? Jem? Jem, look – can you see?”
I’ve actually answered him 4 times since we arrived that “yes I can see” and that “it’s brilliant”, but he’s so distracted and giddy by what’s happening before him, that his brain isn’t processing the information his ears are desperately trying to give him.
One final time; “Jem?”
“Oh good GOD Dad – yes I see, I’ve said I can see MANY TIMES NOW, leave me alone!!”
“Did you answer me?” he says still not looking up from his superspeedy screen. “Sorry…I….sorry.” he concluded petering off at the end thanks to opening a new email presenting further distraction from conversation in hand.
He’s now miles away (figuratively speaking) so I tiptoe out of the room (much like one would do when trying not to wake a sleeping baby) and pootle off to attack the catering.
2/2 for today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
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