The New Pony Express

By DOM Team| 6 Min Read | July 11, 2007

Finally, after nearly two weeks of waiting rather impatiently, we had the cable chap round to do his installation thing round at our place. But, it obviously wasn’t without a modicum of incident.

I fondly bid my adorable lady adieu yesterday morning safe in the knowledge that she knew to make sure that the back computer room was to be hooked up and that the tv had to have enough cable so we could plop our big telly against the long wall so as to reduce window glare.

Yes, these are the things that keep me awake at night. I know, life is tough.

Anyway, Steph rang the installer to see what time he was coming round and he said anytime between 12 and 4. With that being a decent enough window, I’m sure she contemplated a quick forty winks; but any thoughts of that were soon dispelled as he rang back asking if he could come round right away.

Anticipating his prompt arrival, Steph hurriedly decided to whisk an offending garbage bag that I’d forgotten to take out last Thursday (forgive me, I’m not from round here) and hide it up the stairs on the next landing up.

The rustle of the bag as it dropped was accompanied by the sound of the apartment door closing behind her. Doors closing behind you aren’t uncommon, nor are they problematic, unless you’ve kept the lock on and don’t have your keys on you.

Being something of a sharp-ish tack, she thought to ring the landlord, but wasn’t carrying her phone. Now she’s fairly calm in a pressure situation is our lass, and instead of panicking she went downstairs and asked the guy whose apartment is directly beneath us if she could make a call to our landlord on his phone. Kindly he agreed, and while she was making the call, the cable guy arrived.

Letting him in, apologies were offered and understood as to why he was unable to catch Steph on her phone – we don’t have a doorbell, you see – and she explained her predicament. She also had to mention that she was unable to get hold of the landlord.

Things weren’t exactly looking good for my evening of blazing fast internet speeds interspersed with bouts of high definition televisual wizardry. However, while Steph was explaining all of this to the cable guy and hoping for a swift return call from the landlord, our downstairs neighbor sidled up to the pair of them to inform them that he’d managed to get into our apartment with the aid of a screwdriver.

This obviously solved the immediate problem but also presented us with another. We now know anybody can pop into our apartment with nothing but a blunt instrument.

So, for anyone who is interested, we live in Steubenville.

At least the cable fella could get down to business. And some business. We have two cable outlets, one in the living room and one in the back room. Unfortunately neither work. Not only was this diagnosed by cable guy, but also confirmed by his manager who had to be brought into proceedings. As we all know, that’s always a bad sign.

Their only recourse was to wing some kind of temporary set-up until they could get in touch with the landlord to work out exactly how they could go about connecting everything properly. And some temporary set-up it was. They’ve managed to run a cable line up two stories, through our kitchen window, round the back of the fridge and into the living room.

At least the slightly ajar window allows the whiff from the garbage bag to escape.

Now I have to say that the tv is coming in crystal and the HD is as good if not better than my cablecard set-up up Cleveland way. Not only that, but we now have infinitely more HD content than we could possibly have dreamed of.

Go, Wheeling Comcast!

In order to use the internet, mind, I had to plug in my laptop via a four-foot ethernet cable coming out of one of those slightly bulbous all-in-one modem thingies. This meant I was forced to not only watch that slightly bizarre hybrid of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ and karaoke, but my whole field of vision was taken up by some squeaky geek girl butchering ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ by The Bangles.

Ah to be fourteen again. If there’s anything that might spark an alpha male death battle round here it might be Susanna Hoffs popping into the office. Although, saying that, I hardly think she’s going to be overly impressed by one guy looking like he’s had mouth surgery by Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man and another who keeps applying camomile hand wipes to his pinkies due to a poison ivy golfing incident.

Now, I’ve no idea whether the decency of my connection is due to its haphazard cobbling together, or if it’ll be even better once they’ve got unfettered access to the walls of the apartment. My point is that it has impressed me so far. I’ve read an article or two about why West Virginia shouldn’t roll out high speed internet everywhere. I’d like to see what happened to those people who wondered whether the phone should be ubiquitous all those moons ago.

While I’m thinking on – what was the spirit of the Pony Express?

As Frank S. Popplewell puts it:

“From the days of ancient Persia to dawn of modern industry, horse and rider served to bind together the provinces of monarchy, empire and republic. No state long survived its inability to promote the dissemination of knowledge and information among its people. In mid-century America, communication between St. Joseph on the fringe of western settlement and goldmining communities of California challenged the bold and made skeptical the timid. Into this picture rode the Pony Express. In rain and in snow, in sleet and in hail over moonlit prairie, down tortuous mountain path . . . pounding pony feet knitted together the ragged edges of a rising nation. From these hearty souls who toiled over plain and mountain that understanding might be more generally diffused, a nation spanning a continent was ours to inherit. In the spirit of the Pony Express it is for us to bequeath to those who shall follow, new trails in the sky uniting in thought and in deed.”

Need I really say more?

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