Better Living Through Technology

My phones have been screwed for a week. I’m actually starting to enjoy it, even though it obliges me to conduct a daily work-around of checking the Verizon voicemail box to see if anyone’s called the landline. Some days no one leaves a message; most people want to text or e-mail, which I don’t mind. All my clients who might need to connect quickly have been advised. I hate the sound of that damn thing ringing, which it seems to do all day long. As a semi-blind lady I long ago adopted speaking Caller ID, so I don’t have to run over to the phone and squint at a teensy little screen that tells me I am being called by Organizing For America or someone’s campaign committee or the Fraternal Order Of Police, or any one of a hundred charities, causes and scams whose phone-bank representatives will, if I am so foolish as to pick up, address me by my first name with obnoxious familiarity and ask how I am today before trying to shake me down. Now I just get to hear a robot voice tell me these things.

Robot voices are big these days. In fact the only calls I have gotten in two days, on either cell or landline mailbox, are from the Verizon Robot Lady who advises me primly that “you recently called about trouble with your phone line. We believe the problem has been resolved. If your problem is resolved, press 1. If you are still encountering problems, press 2.” Then the mobile phone screen goes blank and I can’t get it back in time to press 2 and the robot lady hangs up on me and calls again later. I am mightily fed up with the sound of her voice and would like to sic Barney the Dinosaur on her, if I could find either one of them.

Every day or so someone tells me that they gave up their land line years ago and don’t miss it yada yada. I get the point, but this number is on business cards that have been floating around for years, and sometimes after a twenty-year gap people have found that card and remembered the great massages they got at Spa Lady back in the day and they call up. Plus, cell phones are no good for talking. My stepmother, Vacuums-With-Snakes, likes to call and chat every so often and I can guarantee you the call will drop twice before we are done because she only uses a cell.

When my dear friend Dorothy died — she had unexpectedly listed me as next of kin — I was left standing in my office with one client leaving and one arriving, waiting for a Fairfax County cop who had found the body in her condo to work his way out of a cellular dead spot so he could utter a complete sentence before being cut off.  That is crap. (I always thought that when people died and the police needed to notify you they actually sent an officer in person, but I guess this is better living through technology. At least they could use a real phone.)

Anyway the first time we could settle on a service call is Saturday, so I can count on a few more days of luscious silence around the house. The text message noise is a polite little triple plink, down a perfect fifth and back up. I can live with this.

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8 thoughts on “Better Living Through Technology

  1. I get few phone calls on my cellphone, so few that when I hear my “Wallander” ringtone go off it always startles me. We have a landline so the telemarketers have some place to call. I would jettison it tomorrow but Tuffy P is not ready to give it up. When it rings I always answer it, even though it is always some guy in a room full of telemarketers in some far off land trying to sell me duct cleaning. “I don’t have any ducks”, I tell him but he is persistant. Sometimes I try, “thank you for calling but I own my own duct cleaning company. Do you use super-x technology?

    • That’s my issue, not that I’m listening to music but the thing is usually stuffed down and muffled in the bottom of my gym bag. BTW the ringtone is “The Stripper.”

  2. We still have a landline, too – got a package that lets me ring the US for the same price as a local call. But I use FaceTime audio or even Facebook messenger audio quite a lot, it is free. Dad is hard of hearing, so the landline is still a must for him.

  3. I keep my landline too… though I have no idea why. Nobody calls me on it. Heck, almost nobody calls me on my mobile… the iPhone is more like my mini-computer.

    • Once in a blue moon there’s a reason to still have a phone that you can use to talk into someone else’s ear or locate them at all — like the 20+ years missing client who looked me up last fall and started to come again every two weeks. Worth it. But I do welcome the era of NOT having to move my mouth whenever other people think it’s time to talk to me. I could be a Trappist very easily.

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