Monday, October 22, 2012

You've Got (No) Mail

Over the years, it’s occurred to me that there are just some letters you should not open. You should pick them up from the pile and immediately toss them into the waste paper basket. You never want to open them because they’re full of bad news.
            Like the time Saffy unsuspectingly tore open a letter from the bank and was informed that her credit card had been terminated because she’d not paid the renewal fees despite repeated reminders.
            “I did not get any reminder letters!” she shouted over the phone to the person at the bank, conveniently ignoring the fact that the reminder letters were all sitting in an untidy pile in the north-east corner of her bedroom. “There’s a Club21 sale on tomorrow! What do you expect me to pay with? My sense of humour?!”
            And who can forget that infamous occasion that Amanda opened a letter from her family doctor which said that the test results had come back with positive results for some unpronounceable disease and that she should get in touch as soon as she could for a consultation?
            After a lot of hysterical screaming, with Saffy screaming and crying the loudest, I noticed that the letter was addressed to someone else and that clearly our address had been mixed up with another patient.
            By the time Amanda had called up the doctor’s office and finished yelling at them, she announced that she was about to have a nervous breakdown and that she needed to go shopping.
            “I tell you,” she said, as I trailed her uselessly around Gucci, “some letters should just never be opened. It’s better that we don’t know what’s going on, really it is! If it’s bad news, you’ll find out eventually, so why bother reading about it? Oooh, I love the colour on this. I think I’m feeling better already.”
            You’d think we’d learn, but a few days ago, we were all at the breakfast table sorting through our mail, and by sheer coincidence, all three of us picked up and opened the same letter from Pacific Internet, and all three shouted at the same time.
            “What the f…” I began.
            “You have got to be f….” said Saffy, her magnificent bosom inflating to maximum capacity.
            Amanda let loose a string of Hokkien cuss words that did absolutely no credit to her Swiss boarding school and Harvard degree.
            “What do they mean they’re discontinuing email services?” Saffy shouted.
            “Oh dear God, my whole life is on my Pacnet account! Can we sue?” I asked Amanda urgently. “All my Amazon, Paypal, banking accounts and bills, my iTunes and Facebook…Everything I have is somehow linked to Pacnet!”
“All my shops are connected too! Gucci, Ferragamo, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton…” Amanda said gloomily, her long manicured fingers counting off her lifelines.
For days, it’s all we’ve been able to talk about.
“I think it’s bloody rude of them to do this!” Saffy ranted the other day at breakfast. It’s the last thing on her mind as she goes to sleep and she wakes up tormented, vaguely hoping that it’s all a bad dream.
“If I had shares in Pacnet, I’d sell them now!” Amanda sniffed.
Of course, now, we’re all obsessed with the next step. We’re leery of going to another web-based email service like Gmail or Yahoo!, though Amanda says if Google or Yahoo! ever went under, then it might as well be the end of the world, so maybe we’d be quite safe with them.
Option B is to set up our own domain name, but that involves a whole set of options that none of us has the range to deal with.
“What does it mean when they say ‘unlimited data transfer’?” Saffy asked as she scrolled through a website.
I asked, “But would you know how to reconfigure Outlook with the SMTP and POP accounts?”
Saffy looked up from her laptop and stared at me. “I did not understand a word you just said.”
I remember when I switched from my old Acer to the new iMac, it took forever for the email to be set up. The worst part was the Pacnet girl on the Helpline kept rabbiting on about SMTP and POP accounts, which I’ve always remembered but have never understood. It’s kind of like knowing that Felix Baumgartner fell to Earth at 1,342kph – it’s just a number. It means nothing.
It occurs to me that someone out there could get very rich in the coming months helping all the hysterical, panicking PacNet users out there migrate safely and calmly to a new email address. Saffy insists that we shouldn’t rule out suing. 

No comments: