Those who know me best would attest to my gross negligence of phone credit. I almost always am out of it and use is sparingly when available. This behavioural pattern grew out of financial hardship, but has continued to languish even though I am able to afford phone credit, in much the same way that war rationing survivors still get every scrap out of their beef joints, even though they could easily buy another. This is not to be sneered at, there is a lot to be said for frugality. Interestingly I read at weekend that Ian McKellan still thrills at a bargain even though he now has tons of cash. Some habits are hard to shake.
Anyhow, this reluctance to spend phone credit took a shake upon my registering an Australian phone and checking my balance. I was informed by the robo-operator that "Your current balance is $35.76. You must top up before 12th March 2007 or your service will be suspended." "What??" I cried at poor Shira, who must be so sick of shouldering the injustices of her nation "does that mean even if I still have credit they'll take it away??". "Yes", she answered meekly, knowing that an outraged kick-off was sure to follow. And it did. But I shan't bore you with details, all you need know is that I did not recharge out of principal and now have no credit as usual.
All of this was annoying, merely annoying, until tyhis morning, when it became sinister. I received a text message whilst at my desk and reached to see who was popping in my inbox. It was Optus, the subject of my embargo. "This is Optus" the message said "you must recharge your credit by the due date or all phone services will be cancelled." Christ! The fuckers are laying it on the line. Pay up or else. There has been Melbourne mafia violence in the news lately, but via text message? Orange were happy to leave me for a year without topping up, safe in the knowledge that other Orange users were ringing and texting me. But this lot are not happy with that. It's 'Give us your cash or you'll be incommunicado sunshine!'
I have one month to decide my next move. And I feel a fight coming on...