Telecommunications

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This hideous snarl of wires inhabits a deep, dark, damp pit under our parking lot. It is the junction for the telephone wires leaving our building and the cable that connects the complex with trunk line in the street. If you look closely, you’ll see the little splices in the twisted pairs. If you look even closer, you’ll see 2 or 3 inches of water in the bottom. As far as I know, the water is permanent. Last year I joked with the telephone company guys about fishing in it. Har, har. Predictably, every time we have phone/internet trouble the fix involves a fresh splice. In the meanwhile, every syllable and every bit of data from us to the world goes out through that pit.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Here, it’s indistinguishable from the miraculous.

NB: Susan, in a fit of pique raised by OTE, the Greek National Telephone company, commissioned this post.

PS: All too appropriately, the day after I posted this, the telephone portion of the service went out. Mercifully, the internet side remained operational. At our local phone emporium, a very nice young woman speaking great English called the repair service for us and, 12 hours of patience later, a phone call came in from OTE to inform us that the problem, QED, had been fixed. Hallelujah!

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