Step One: Apply for TV and internet access. Wait at least one month for anything further to happen.
Step Two: Learn that SA TV's are not compatible with European cable signals. You get visuals but no sound.
Step Three: Get wireless, but no computer. Borrow laptop, which fails to recognise wireless network. Borrowed laptop is also set up in Dutch. Dutch is not Afrikaans.
Step Four: Get decoder to decode cable signal into both visual and audio. Set up decoder to learn that TV does not register decoder. Phone boyfriend and warn him that he may come home to find girlfriend with foot planted firmly through TV screen.
Step Five: Call TV help centre to speak to socially-impaired technician at TV store. Socially-impaired technician says to come back and pay more money for more cables to attach TV to cable to decoder. Put phone down and cry with frustration. Scream a little. Feel calmer.
Step Six: Call computer centre for help on connecting Dutch computer (in English) to wireless modem. Learn that wireless PC card must be reinstalled. Installation CD belongs to owner of computer who has just flown out to Australia for three months. Cry a little. Scream a little. Feel calmer.
Step Seven: Call boyfriend. Warn him that he might come home to find computer through the TV screen, complete with heavily sedated and unnerving grinning girlfriend.
Step Eight: Give up on wireless and connect laptop direct to modem via ethernet. This entails sitting at an angle and balancing computer on knees so that unpredictable power cord and ethernet can both just reach their connections on opposite sides of the room.
It hurts my back, but damn, the precarious angle is worth it. Internet access. Sweet, unadulterated internet access.
One more frustration: Since getting our landline, on random days at random hours, the phone rings. Seeing as I'm home all day, I answer it. The answered phone does nothing but beep in my ear, like a fax signal. I put the phone down. Three minutes later (I've timed it), it rings. I ignore it. Three minutes later, it rings. Repeat for at least the next 90 minutes.
Disconnecting the phone doesn't work because unfortunately the ringing actually originates from the consol. Disconnecting the line entirely would work, but then I would also lose my internet access - all too precious a commodity.
Nobody knows what I'm talking about when I try to explain it. I think it's just the gods of frustration making sure that I don't get through more than 5 days in a row without collapsing into a quivering, drooling, vegetative heap. Chinese torture has nothing on this cold-calling persistancy. OH LOOK IT'S RINGING AS I TYPE.
I've learnt from experience that if I ignore it for long enough then "they" (and if I ever find THEM, I'm going to take great delight in personally blocking every bodily orifice with any mobile phone I can get my hands on) are not likely to try calling again for at least a week.
Maybe somebody out there can suggest what these calls are in aid of? There's no one on the other line and I have no way of telling where they originate from. Who are these people and what do they want with me????