When my Dad and I applied for Internet connection in our apartment, we decided to set the payment settings to “GIRO”. Three months on, I came home one day to a lack of Internet access. Thinking that the rain/ thunderstorm had something to do with the connection disruption, I got on with my day without sparing a thought for it while hoping that the issue would get solved soon…
The next morning, I woke up with the expectation that I could start my Saturday as usual – a calming yoga session, breakfast while watching Masterchef Asia/ Marcus Butler’s Vlogs on YouTube, and a long Whatsapp call to my family back in Singapore. However, my internet router had something else in mind. I ended up spending an hour resetting the router and trying to establish connection before I somehow came up with the idea to browse through the folder I dedicated to filing all documents related to Internet/ Satellite/ Phone connections. I then stumbled upon a letter from Telekom titled “Die erste Mahnung”, which translates to “The first reminder/ warning”. I never put much notice to what I was receiving from Telekom (if it was regarding the fees for our subscriptions) because my father and I had the idea that they’d simply be the monthly receipts for the GIRO deductions from my bank account. My bad.
Boy were we wrong…
I was in a rude shock when I realised that the ‘deduction statements’ were actually bills that STILL HAD TO BE PAID FOR. However, I was pleasantly surprised, or rather confused, over the fact that Telekom continued to supply my apartment with an Internet connection for a whole three months. Either way, I got myself together, thanked the Heavens for highlighting to me what the root of the problem was, and got about settling the payment slip before I dropped it off at the little drop-off for bills at the nearby post office.
After I got that done, I did a little grocery shopping, during which I may or may have not bought two overflowing tote bags of bananas and sweet potatoes among brussel sprouts, spring onions, carrots and a basil plant…
I cycled the 200 metres back to my apartment and made myself a plate consisting of all my recent obsessions – dill-curry-tomatoey mashed sweet potatoes with a side of spring oniony stewed veggies. A spring onion does such a great job at elevating a dish? Is anyone with me on this?
Days passed and with every call I made to the Telekom Customer Hotline, I heard the same few words: “The payment has not been transferred/ processed yet.” I waited and waited and waited and finally after a whole week, I came to know that because my bank account and Telekom’s bank account belonged to two different banks, the way I did my payment was invalid.
As a result of the lack of connection to the World Wide Web, I had a legitimate excuse to delay getting some things done. Sorry, but… not really? Serendipitous events took place more frequently: real life meetings, bike rides, photography adventures, reflections, letter-writing and Greek literature. I managed to squeeze in some planning for how I’d be spending my next 12 months and also do valuable revision for TMS.
I got a little bored, perhaps felt a little lonely too, but I found it a wonderful change of pace. I connected the dots and figured that maybe it was the boredom and lack of stimulation that drove me to do things I really care about, like writing, photography and spending time with others.
Simply put, I managed to stop and smell the flowers.
Sure, the ‘increased distance’ from everyone I loved triggered several teary nights, but viewing it positively, it gave me a break from modern life — the hamster wheel of an e-mail inbox, the constant flood of WWW information which (sometimes) drowned out my sanity.
And You know what? I may actually be thankful for the carelessness I displayed while handling my Internet Connection’s subscription payment.
A blessing in disguise indeed.