Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tone at the Top

I picked up my home phone’s receiver on Thursday and listened to something I hadn’t heard in months.

A dial tone.

Ever since my accident in December, I’ve been pretty much living off my cellphone.

I preferred the mobile unit to the hospital’s phone and it was more convenient to use the cell when I got home and had to lumber around the house in leg braces for weeks.

However, my old landline phone was getting ready to call it a day and I asked my sister to get me a new landline phone for Christmas.

The new one is a beauty and comes with a spare receiver that I set up near the TV so I wouldn’t have to dash into my computer room every time someone called me.

There was only one problem: I couldn’t get it to work.

I read the directions over and over, but I couldn’t make sense out of them. I pressed the various buttons, plugged in all wires and the thing was still as dead as Kelsey’s nuts, as my father used to say.

I should mention here that I have no idea who Kelsey was or what caused his unfortunate condition, but the expression just seems to fit this situation.

I repeatedly promised myself that I’d call tech support and get the phone working, but I let the days go by without taking any action.

When I finally called tech support, surprise, surprise, they were experiencing heavier than normal call volume—what exactly is normal call volume?—and I had another excuse not do anything.

Still On The Line

I told people to call my cell until I figured out the situation with the new phone—like it was some great mystery that I had to unravel. Gradually I got accustomed to not having a home phone.

I rationalized that landlines are so 20th Century and most of the calls I get on the damn thing are from telemarketers anyway. Who needs it?

This is a familiar story with me. I don’t know how something works and instead of taking care of the problem, I adjust my life to the inconvenience until it becomes the norm.

And it’s not just with technology. I have an unfortunate habit of putting up barriers where none exist and this sounds like a good habit to break.

Every time I walked into my computer room I could feel the new phone staring at me with zombie eyes.

Finally, I’d had enough. I was going to call tech support, heavier than normal call volume be damned, and get my phone working.

I got connected with a young woman who ran me through a series of questions, which quickly determined that I was using a wire from my old phone and plugging it into the wrong socket.

I corrected these two errors, picked up the receiver, and nearly burst into tears when I heard that lovely dial tone singing back to me. It was just a simple adjustment, but to me it was like day Alexander Graham Bell hollered “Watson, I need you!”

Okay, so I’ll giving myself a split grade on this one. I’m disappointed that I let this situation go on for so long, but I’m happy that I finally took care of it.

Now I have to set up the voice mail and if I get any messages from Kelsey I’m not calling him back.


Ron said...

Rob, this is so funny because I too still have a landline phone and it's getting ready to die, so I have to get a new one very soon. I actually thought of just doing away with it because I use my cell phone most of the time. However, my Internet provider (Verizon) is DSL so I have to keep a phone number because that's what the service runs through.

So glad to hear that you finally got the other phone working and that it was a matter of a simple adjustment. Whew! I sometimes get so frustrated with technical things myself.

Oh, btw, I LOVE the photographs you used from "Sorry Wrong Number" and "His Girl Friday." I've seen both those films, several times, and LOVE them. Such classics!

Have a grrrrrrrrrrreat week, buddy!

Bijoux said...

It does feel like a miracle when you finally get something to work right these days!

Rob K said...

Oh, yes, Bijoux! I feel so technologically clueless that when something actually works I break into my happy dance!

Rob K said...


Hey, buddy, what's up?

Cell phones are obviously convenient, but I'm a little spooked about radiation going into my head! And I didn't want to go without a landline just because I couldn't figure out how to hook it up.

Good catch on the photos, son! Those are two amazing films!

Take care, my friend!

Jay said...

Well done, Rob! I'm often like you when faced with a problem I think I'm going to find too difficult to solve. I put things off until I get to the point of 'oh, well, it didn't really matter anyway' if I can possibly do so. I bet that dial tone sounded sweet!

Rob K said...

Hey, Jay, what do you say?

The dial tone sounded sweet indeed. I think we should all make a list of our delayed projects and tick them off one by one.

But first we have to make a list...