Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thinking Out Loud

My constant readers know that I’m always at odds with my cell phone. Nothing personal or anti Semitic in my relations with the contraption, but still there is something going on, to wit:

The other day both my wife and I received a cold call from an unreachable source (no way they can be called back. I told my better half that I’ll handle the problem and off she went to play bridge. Now I know that there is no way you can call a large company and speak to a human being in the first ten or twenty prompts. So I pull up a comfortable chair, brace my back with a cushion and call the Verizon business office. But instead of dialing 611, which number is universal for the business office from here to Outer Mongolia, I dialed 6, not 611 and therein lies the rub. Each time I dialed 6, I got a prompt from Verizon that they can’t connect me.

Not to be out done by the bureaucracy I set aside my cell phone and reached for my land line so Verizon would know I meant business. Here I must admit that I thought I hung up – or whatever the term is – to shut down my cell phone. (I found out later that whatever button I pressed did not shut the contraption off.) So after a score or more prompts from the Verizon 800 number each of which had me press one or two more numbers, I lost patience slammed the phone back into its cradle as I pressed the “talk” button again, which I assumed would shut the phone down, but in truth I did hear something about a “flag” number, if need be, as the line went dead.

Now comfortably ensconced in my easy chair I decided it was time for my afternoon nap. Just as I shut my eyes I heard someone call out, “Hello Mr. Meister; Mr. Meister, hello!” Startled – I thought someone was at the door – I jumped up shouting, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” And low and behold a voice which now had, at least to my mind, an ethereal quality to it proclaimed: “I’ll wait, no problem Mr. Meister, I’ll wait.”

Okay, I got it. My cell phone – which I thought I shut off – but in any event, had lain fallow for ten or fifteen minutes, had now come back to life. “Who is this, did I call you?” I shouted in the general direction of my cell phone lying on the table (I was a bit leery about picking it up).

“Sheila Burns of Verizon, Mr. Meister,” the voice answered,” and well, in a way you did; you asked us to call you back, so here we are. How may I help you?” she asked.

To make a long story short, she explained everything to me, somehow she knew I thought I dialed 611, but did not, and then when I crashed the phone back in its cradle I must have triggered that return call (simple, when you really think about it). “Okay, I need to get a number blocked – a cold caller – can you handle it?”

“Sure, she responded, “no problem.” I thanked her profusely, apologized for any problems I might have caused and said goodbye as I grabbed cell phone off the table to disarm, shut off, hang up (or what ever the word is}. But as she said goodbye to me, a picture of the New York Post suddenly appeared on my screen. “My God,” I screamed, “somehow the Post crept into my phone.”

“No, Mr. Meister!” Sheila Burns shouted “You never shut the phone off; you must have taken a picture. Your phone is still on; hit the small button on the right side, that’s the off switch. Got it?”

Apparently I did; haven’t heard from Verizon for two days now. I’ll keep you posted.

Click on Gerard Meister  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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