First published on the Golf Monthly website on Friday 27th August 2010
It would be fair to describe me as slightly pessimistic. I got back from holiday at the start of this week to find my broadband connection running so slowly it was basically unusable. I spent hours on the phone to BT in India in an effort to solve the problem but made no progress. After a couple of days of worse than dial-up throughput speeds, I’d basically decided we would have to move house.
Jessie (wife,) who could fairly be described as an optimist, was cool as a cucumber. “Don’t worry,” she said, “It’ll sort itself out.”
“Of course it can’t sort itself out,” I snapped back. “It must be some sort of technical issue that can only be fixed by a team of crack engineers who will probably have to dig up our drive and plough a trench through our shed.”
So, after yet more hours on the phone to the subcontinent, I finally managed to arrange for that team of crack engineers to come to my house and begin digging. “They will fix this once and for all,” my helpful friend in Mumbai said.
I’ve no problem with BT’s call centre being in India. Generally when I’ve spoken to them there they’ve been very good. But I couldn’t help thinking it was a bit ridiculous when the girl I was talking to this time (some 5,000 miles away) put me on hold to call my local engineering office (some 10 miles away) to sort out an appointment.
Anyway, an appointment was made for this afternoon but even that progress couldn’t diminish my pessimism. “They probably won’t turn up and, even if they do, they won’t be able to fix it there and then.” God I’m annoying.
So, imagine Jessie’s smugness this morning when I went to my desk and discovered broadband working again as normal. “See, it sorted itself out,” she said with a self-congratulatory grin.” … “Razza-frazza-prazza… dastardly broadband.”
All that’s left then is to get back on the phone to India and, after just 40 or 50 minutes spent on hold and confirming my mother’s maiden name and shoe size, I should have managed to cancel the JCBs.
What’s this nonsense got to do with golf you might wonder? Well, in the midst of my broadband traumas this Wednesday, I played in the midweek Medal at Banchory. I realised during that round my “Glass is half empty” attitude spills over into my golf – I must have a pretty shaky hand to spill a half empty glass.
I was going along well and had reached two-under-par through 12 holes. I usually play the last six well so was feeling like a great score was achievable. But, I failed to get up-and-down from the side of the 13th green and my pessimistic side took over. “That’s it,” I thought, “A potentially good score wasted.”
With hindsight I can see just how ridiculous those thought processes were. I was still one-under-par with five good birdie chances left. But, at the time, I could only see the possibility of a really excellent round slipping away. That invasive negativity caused me to drop another shot at the next by pulling a two-foot putt. I hadn’t missed anything all day but when I grazed the hole with a birdie effort at the 14th and it rolled just past the cup, I actually said to myself, “Well, that’s another five.”
I then missed a couple more makeable putts coming home and my mental collapse was complete. Who knows what score I might have returned if I could have retained a positive frame of mind after the minor blip on the 13th.
This broadband fiasco has a lesson in it – When things go wrong, don’t automatically assume the worst. The computer could, inexplicably, start working again or you might, out of nowhere, hole a few good putts and get your score back on track. Right, I’ve just looked over and my tea mug is half empty so I’m off to put the kettle on.