Nick Lowe was a fool, I HATE the sound of breaking glass. I certainly hated it at 1:30am this morning when I was awoken with a start to find the window of my front door had a large fist shaped hole in it I couldn't see anyone around but I guessed someone would be watching and if they didn't see any action they'd be back to slip their hand through and break in. So I walked around outside for a bit, turned on some lights and sat for a couple of hours reacting suspiciously to the sounds of the night.
I didn't waste the time during my night time vigil though. I caught up on some personal correspondence and sorted out a few work things. I took special delight around 4am in responding by return to a midday e-mail request from a colleague in Singapore. That must have confused him, he must have thought it was time to go home.
Eventually I thought I should do something about getting the window boarded up so did what I guess most of us would. I trawled the Internet, picked three local firms with impressive websites, read all their credentials and picked one. It's amazing how many of these 24-hour emergency tradesmen don't answer their phones until the birds have woken up, had their breakfast, brushed their beaks and started warming up for the dawn chorus.
It's only when phoning around these firms that you realise how similar the numbers are and become suspicious that they may actually be the same firm. This was confirmed as fact when I left a callback message on one site and received a call from someone saying they were from another firm. So your nice comforting notion that there is a phallanx of emergency glaziers out there just waiting to spring into action to rid the world of its ills and broken windows disappears, as you realise it's probably one 70-year old bloke in a beaten up old van trying to cover the entire South of England.
But undeterred I agreed to an 8am-10am slot, a bit outside the 90 minute claim on the website (all three of them!) but it should still allow me to get into work around midday. Then the inevitable happened, at 8:30 I got a call. I knew what was coming and I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
"Mr Thompson? You booked with us to have a door boarded up?"
"No, I booked with you to have a window in a door boarded up and a quote for a new door"
"OK, and you were given a time of between 8 and 10?"
"Yes, I was"
"I'm afraid we're not going to be able to make it until at least midday"
"But I booked this at 6 o'clock this morning for an 8 'til 10 appointment"
"Ah well they shouldn't have booked you in, we can't get there until at least midday, it's this weather you see, it's put us behind, we have other jobs piling up, do you still want us to come?"
"So when you say you can't be here until at least midday, do you mean it could be later?"
"No, we can be there by midday, we just can't make it between 8 and 10"
"So it will be between 10 and 12 then?"
"Well we can't really get there before midday, do you still want us to come?"
"Yes, I suppose so"
Of course what I wanted to say was "I have no choice really do I? I have a great big hole in my front door, the wind is whistling through it like a screaming banshee and and it's starting to rain again. If I say no I'll only have to book with someone else, which will probably be you anyway, and you probably wouldn't be able to turn up until next Monday". But I didn't, I said "Yes, I suppose so", in the vain hope that I might get it fixed before nightfall.
I then fall further into despair when I check the phone number they have just called me from, it's not a mobile it's a landline, an 01702 number. I check and find that it's a Southend-on -Sea number. What? You claim to be my local glazier company ready to speedily meet the needs of my local community, and you're 60 sodding miles away. No wonder you can't make it until midday, you've got half of the M25 to navigate.
At this point I have given up on any notion of making it into the office and start wondering how much work it's actually possible to do from a Blackberry. Never mind, the pubs are open soon and if this guy ever turns up I might get a pint in before last orders.