She answered the phone with an abrupt, yes.
I’m calling to check on my expiry date.
What did you say? Who is this, she asked, her irritation evident.
After spending an hour on a call with a phone representative, my patience was running short as well. I need to know when my turbo stick contract expires, I said. I want to switch to the hub.
She seemed confused. Who did you call?
Someone transferred me to your department. I’m calling about my internet service.
Her breath came out in a rush; possibly ending in a chuckle. This is the wrong number. You’ve reached Driscoll Cardiology (googled as a hospital in Texas).
No wonder she thought it was a prank call. My expiry date, indeed! She brushed off my apology. You made my day, she insisted.
How could the phone company make such a wrong connection? Typical of my usual exasperating dealings with them.
One telephone company employee I spoke to seemed not only knowledgeable but sympathetic. I took notes during the lengthy call − two full pages. Although the plan sounded good, I wanted to run it by my husband. I’ll call back tomorrow, I said.
The next day I called to place the order. No such deal, he said. I argued. I read directly from my notes. I read the plus tax equals part and the less this percentage it would be part. It made no difference. But, if I would have said yes yesterday, I would have received this price. No, he said, speaking slowly and succinctly, there is no package at that price.
Alright, I’ll have to go with the new price. I sensed he was biting his tongue.
Okay, that’s fine, Phyllis. Phyllis? Like he knows me personally? Go to one of our franchise stores and tell them what you want. What?? After spending hours on the phone I just have to go to an outlet and make my purchase?
There’s also the matter of our land line. It works great – as long as it doesn’t rain. A torrential downpour that dwindles to showers for several days is not good. The phones shut down. Sometimes for weeks.
The problem is that the phone company –you know who− won’t admit to the problem. We’ll send someone to your address, they say. You will be billed if the problem is in your house.
It’s not in my house, I tell them. No one for miles around has a phone.
We are not aware of a problem with anyone’s line, they drone.
My husband and I were outside when a telephone repair truck pulled in the drive. Do you have a problem, he called out. We answered with a despairing laugh. He seemed like a nice enough guy. An older fella.
The problem is not in your house, he said, as he stepped towards us. There are thirty-two residences without a phone. It’s the phone lines. They need to be replaced. We nodded in grim agreement.
I phoned to cancel the land line. The representative understood. We won’t charge you for the month you didn’t have a phone line. How generous. Don’t cancel your phone. As we speak they are installing new lines in your area. Really? Oh yes, you will even be able to get high-speed internet over the phone lines. My heartbeat quickened.
New phone lines would be a blessing. Sometimes, during a call I can hear another conversation fading in and out. Often we can all carry on a conversation. Not a nice conversation. Excuse me, but this is a private call. Well, this is a business call – long distance. Is this a party line? Though identities remain unknown, we confirmed that we lived in the same rural area.
One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy.............. Hello? Hello?