They stood in the middle of the road, staring at it.
They moved to the other side of the street and saw nothing changing.
Back where they began a few moments earlier, only their position and mood had changed.
There was no reception.
They restarted the phone and waited for it to find itself. The device started with happy, chirpy tones, but the relentless absence of reception ruined the mood the phone had been programmed to improve.
The urge to stamp on the phone was barely restrained; it was, of course, the fault of the phone company not the thousand dollar piece of kit in their hand. It didn’t help, of course, that there were no handily located representatives of the phone company ready to receive their cries of frustration and anger.
They could have decided to be ‘zen’ about the whole lack-of-signal issue being experienced; put it down to ‘the will of the universe’, a message that being connected to the microwave transmitters of Modern Networked Communication was as nothing compared to the connections to other human beings that they could be experiencing.
Except, of course, the problem was that the human connection was the very point of having phone reception: so they could call and speak to said human beings.
They mused that this was probably how super-villains got so cross, deciding at last that enough-was-enough and there had to be a better way for the world to be.
As they considered this possibility, a single bar of reception flickered, then remained constant. They dialed quickly and conveyed their message.
Sometimes, they thought, patience was the order of the day. Often though, luck and profound swearing solved the problem.
The telephone, on the other hand, remained silent on this subject.