Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Think you Said

I may be the last person on the entire east coast who still has a land line. A call to Verizon 411 information may be the reason why everyone else bailed out years ago.

First of all, I needed the number for my dentist. A quick call to information greeted me with, "Verizon Nationwide 411. City and state, please". My response, "Salem, Va. Dr. Michael Hall" was met with, "I think you said, 'Mitchell Bolling. Is that right?"

What transpired for the next several minutes made me wonder whether or not I should have called my psychiatrist instead.

Now, normally I'm pretty even keeled. That's a challenge in itself when your serotonin levels keep telling you, "remember: thou art mortal". I do a pretty good job, I think, of feeling and acting like most people.

However, there are exceptions to that rule. And one of those exceptions, as rare as they may be, comes around whenever I have to deal with the phone company. 411 Information is automated "to better facilitate calls", shares a representative of a company whose computer informs me that "your call is important to us" whenever the business office feels like avoiding me. "But your computer doesn't understand me when I call from my twelve dollar Verizon land line", I whine. "Why have automation if it doesn't work?"

Verizon , as it turns out, doesn't like whiners. This is demonstrated as I'm quickly rerouted to 411 information again. "City and state, please."

Here we go again. "Salem, Va -again", I snap sarcastically to an automated system which has all the humor of a freshman level economy course. "I think you said, 'Salem Gain'. Is that right?"

Land lines are very durable. This one bounces off of the sofa across from the overstuffed chair I'm lounging in at the moment. Picking up the innocent (and now-victimized) instrument, I shout, "NO!" to a computer in Newark which asks me again what number I'd like. This time, I feel like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game with twelve seconds on the clock, no timeouts, and four points behind. Going for broke, I hurl into the air, "Dooccttoorr Haaaaaallllll" to an electro-mechanical contraption likely collecting dust in the basement of an old, gray building with a snoozing security guard and vending machines which dispense stale Butterfingers bars to employees who wonder how much longer it will be before that same contraption replaces their positions. You know, "to better facilitate calls".

You're only allowed so many tries before the system transfers you to a live operator. I find that I have mixed emotions as "Jenna" takes the call. Her muffled laugh indicates that she has heard my several rants made over the course of perhaps half of a minute to the automated system. That suspicion is confirmed when the woman tells me to "please hold for "Dooccttoorr Haaaaaallllll".

I cannot adequately explain my relief when the call goes through. I feel as though I've been rescued and whisked to safety by a commando team. The euphoria I now feel from both having endured a mind-rattling experience and a smart-alecky operator (easily forgiven) is experienced with indescribable joy.

That joy, sadly, is short-lived as the message from the dentist's office proclaims that "the office is now closed".  I want to yell, but now have only the energy to pout as I go to the kitchen to boil noodles for a "feel-good" snack.

I like noodles. They don't require repeating a message which they will never understand.

Speaking of noodles, I wish the phone company would use theirs.


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