10 Years Ago Today, I made my Mom Faint

Day 51/365: This is a real story, and it happened exactly 10 years ago today, on a sunny February evening…

This is not an Aprils Fool joke. This is a real story about how my mom fainted because of me. It happened 10 years ago today when the wonders of the amazing Internet were starting to lure me into more and more time online.

There was no fibre optics connection back then, so the only way that I was able to get my old computer to “play” Google for me was with the help of a little dial-up modem that it’s still somewhere in the attic.

The Dial-up Internet

Everybody knows the specific sounds of that Ancient modem. It’s unique, as if every single computer at NASA was working together in order to allow you, the user, to get on the interwebs and see the world.

In my case, I was just beginning to discover the web pages dedicated to the worldwide phenomenon that was Harry Potter, which was all the norm back then. There were 3 new volumes waiting to be released, and I was lurking on forums and playing flash browser games days and nights just to get a sense of the magical world. I was 15, come on!

During one particular weekend, when I was expecting a friend to bring me one of the famous internet prepaid cards, it happened. To get online, you had to call a number, insert a password and so on, which was a “very easy to get wrong” process for a 15 years old who saw nothing but Harry Potter before his eyes. To make my prepaid card last longer, I would sign up and then back out at the end of 30 minutes, which was hard but worked for me.

The Call

Friday morning, I quickly went through the 3 hours of prepaid internet on the card and the internet stopped, as it should. I went to the kitchen, complained about it to my mom, and then got back at the desk and guess what? The internet was on! And it stayed on… until Sunday night. At around 6 PM, the telephone company ranged at our house.

Hello, is this Ms Iosa?
Good evening, yes!
We’re calling you from the telephone company. We noticed that in the last 48 hours, there was a considerable amount of internet data used at your location from your dial-up connection. Someone connected your modem to a phone number from Sweden. Can you check on that, please?
Can you explain that one more time, please?
There’s a user on your computer which is constantly logging on from Friday until now. In the last two days, he or she used an international phone number from Sweden to get an internet connection, generating about 13 million lei on your next bill. We called to let you know about it, as we find it a bit high from your normal usage…

The Passing Out

Mom quickly went silent, then pale, and then she sort of fainted a little bit. When this happened, back in 2008, 13 million lei was a huge sum, regardless if you were working in a shoe factory, or were the boss of that shoe factory. It was about $1300 in today’s’ money.

Somehow, my goddamn modem found an international phone number and called it in order to get some more internet, at an international cost, of course. As nobody knew how the stuff worked back then, I just simply went on and played my Harry Potter games.

It’s still a good thing that the telephone company decided to call and warn us about it, although they could’ve done that Saturday morning for example, and not wait until Sunday night when the bill was simply over the roof.

P.S.: Three days after the little incident, my mom bought me the first two books of the Harry Potter series, but never bought me a prepaid internet card ever again. I was able to get online years later when broadband got to our part of the town. Love you, mom!

Thank you for your time!

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My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, Full-time Freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 45 claps!

I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!

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