I was asked the other day of the scariest places that I’ve worked during my long career in telecoms. I’ve seen some frightening data cabinets in my time, that’s for sure but, as it’s Halloween, gather round and (perhaps torch under face) I’ll tell you some other hair-raising tales.
As a residential telephone engineer for Cambridge Cable, I was called out to fix a fault at a house in Cambridge. Just a normal semi-detached house on an estate. Quite unassuming. As I was drilling a hole a hole through the wall, I turned round and noticed the back wall of the room was floor to ceiling with glass tanks. In each tank sat a tarantula. Many tarantulas. Many sets of eyes. Many hairy legs. On the top of the tanks, to my shock, was a enormous specimen watching my every move. It turned out that it, thankfully, wasn’t an escapee sizing me up for lunch, but a cast off skin. I’m not scared of spiders, but the scene could have easily been the stuff of nightmares for an arachnaphobe engineer. The chap I was working with decided to stay in the van.
On a more supernatural note, I did a data cabling job at a school in London where I was alone in the basement tidying the basement. The school was around 200 years old and the basement vast, empty and dark. I knew I was alone, my colleague was several floors up working on a different part of the install when I heard footsteps approaching me down the walk way. I looked out and…nothing. No-one to be seen. I returned to work. The footsteps started up again and stopped right by where I was working. I decided at that point that….er, it was time for a tea break upstairs.
However, the job which has most given me the willies, was a business telephone installation at a funeral director’s premises. My colleague and I arrived, unphased, expecting to install the phones in the various offices. As we walked down the corridor the funeral director told us to wait as he “had some people lying about down there”. We looked at each other and shrugged as he disappeared round a corner. He returned a few minutes later to tell us that we could go in as he’d “covered them up”. We walked in to the main funeral parlour where many dead bodies lay on tables, each with a tiny square bit of cloth over their faces; a cloth smaller than a flannel! The funeral director had deemed this sufficient in his terminology of “covering the bodies up”! He disappeared again to let us get on with it. We worked among the bodies installing the phone system, and where they wanted one of the phone points was right behind where two of the trolleys were against the wall. Carefully I had to move the bodies to squeeze between both of them to install the phone socket on the wall. It’s the fastest phone extension installation I have ever done and we both shot out the room as quickly as possible for the next part of the install, amongst the coffins.
So, if you have a scary install that needs doing, please get in touch.