Take my new smart phone, for instance. True, my ancient fliptop was beyond help, but did I really need a so-called “phone” that reports on the stock market, takes my pulse, lets me send texts, emails, and question an otherworldly woman who doesn’t know the answers either? I can take photos with this “phone,” read a book or a map, listen to music, play games, get a weather report and watch a movie. The “phone” part of the phone seems incidental.
No one calls me.
My technical advisors — family — insisted it was time. So I bought a phone that seldom rings, and when it does I’m not sure how to answer it. Son-in-law Martin called a few days ago. “Hello,” I said to no one there. Three more calls and we finally connected. Martin thought something was wrong since I never call him and I’d rung so many times. I said I was returning his calls.
He laughed. “Oh, must’ve been ‘butt dialing.'”
That same evening, our blank t.v. screen advised that our service was down. I’d figured that out because the screen was…um…blank. I called help and after intense questioning to identify myself and our equipment — think CIA interrogation — the young woman instructed, “Unplug the cable box from the power source.”
I followed the cable to the power strip. Done!
“Now, what is the bar code number on the back of the box?”
I couldn’t see a bar code. “Where would it be?” I asked.
“Upper right,” she said.
“Nope, nothing there.” I recited all the numbers I saw, but none was right.
I should say here, that the floor behind our t.v is a nest of cables that coil around each other in an incestuous stranglehold. As I studied the entwined mess I realized I had not only unplugged the wrong box, but I was looking for numbers on the wrong box too.
I explained what I’d done. “Sorry,” I said, “but you should see what I’m dealing with here!” My laugh was hysteria-tinged because now I was wedged between wall and t.v., sitting in a nest of dust bunnies. Getting out would not be pretty.
She giggled. “No problem,” she said. “Let me know when you’ve found the bar code number.”
“Bingo,” I yelled.
“Now tell me what you see on your screen.,” she said.
“Hang on while I crawl around to the front.”
She explained the next steps as patiently as I hope she would explain to her own grandmother — service reconnecting, channels reloading, etc. “Wait fifteen minutes before trying to select a channel,” she reminded, then bid me good night.
Next day, Bill, my husband’s companion, arrived to take Peter and Nobby to their weekly therapy dog, nursing home visit. Bill and I chatted while we waited for Peter. Repetitive beeps came from behind Bill, but he wasn’t “pocket dialing,” no, he was leaning against the stove’s set-timer button.
A while later — I knew it was only mid-afternoon — when I looked at the stove’s clock it read 6:15. Apparently Bill had “turned the other cheek” when he moved to the left, and in the doing had set the clock several hours ahead. This without a phone in his pocket! What a guy.