The three-modem trap


That’s the sound I let out yesterday at about 5 p.m., looming over a computer hardware shelf in Not-Often-Visited SuperMarket X.

The reason was I had noticed, all of a sudden, that Not-Often-Visited SuperMarket X happened to sell modems; something I hadn’t quite realized before. It happened, in fact, sell exactly the kind of a modem I had post-ordered a few days ago, sure that that would be the quickest way.

Also, the exact kind of a modem that had let its magic smoke loose a week ago, and that I had sent back for inspection and possible repair or replacement. Which did mean that in a day or two I would get a brand new modem, and then hopefully a few days later the old one back.

The reason? Aw shucks, in a university town I can always sell a modem. There are all the time new ones who notice that, no, actually they can’t live an austere, Internet-free life after all. But to have the new one post-ordered and the old one in repair… if I bought this one off the shelf, I would have my connection back 24 hours earlier than otherwise. Maybe even 48 hours earlier if the post dawdled. But then I’d have to sell two modems… maybe a raffle or a competition of some kind?

“Hi baby. Wanna have some good time? There’s a 50-euro modem in it for you…”

After a minute of thinking of this, I shook my head and walked away. Three modems is too much for a single man.

(Oh, and as to where I write this from — well, I said university town, didn’t I?)

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