Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watson, come here!

For 'unspecified reasons' the telephone in my place of work went goofy the other day. It rang, and you could hear (way in the background) someone speaking or, technically, trying to shout over what sounded like a forest fire in the phone. In my earpiece it was like the Rice Krispies guys Meet Shock and Awe in a cage match of some sort and I have to assume that's how it sounded on the other side as well.

When the machinery becomes part of the scenery, and then absents itself, weirdness ensues (at least for me) when you're not Mr. Wizard. I'm more of the Ward type, not even a Wally and when 'suddenly' happens, it gives me the willies (considering my first name, maybe that should, too). When a light bulb burns out at your house, do you try the light switch a few more times, y'know, just to make sure? Me, too. I can control (or think I do) that part of the process, so I'm playing it for all it's worth. It's like when the car doesn't start, the first thing I do is check the oil. Yeah, I know-there's no connection, but I know how to check the oil. I have no idea how to get a car that doesn't start, to start. I, perhaps like you, am a One-Trick Pony (PS: our hairlines look like they went to different high schools together, by the way) and I'm going to break out the playbook when I think an emergency has arrived and do the drill.

From one day to the next, the phone became uncooperative. I even brought in another phone from home, because I figured after ten plus years, the one on the desk had spit the bit (that ties back into the reference to pony, doesn't it? Afraid so). But it wasn't the phone and it wasn't the cord I'd strung from the phone jack (nickname for phone john? I have no idea) on the other side of the room to where my desk is--and I took the 'old phone' to another phone outlet and plugged it in and it worked fine. So........

The people at my work have a process to get this kind of stuff fixed-which impresses me because until my phone stopped working it never crossed my mind that it could, or would. The first thing the repair form asks for is your phone number which sounds a little counter-intuitive to me and also vaguely like a put-on. Luckily, I was able to borrow a cup of clear dial tone from the long-suffering neighbor in the adjoining office and use her phone number. She is really good with people in charge of things. Within three hours, two people were in my office working like crazy to fix the phone.

In the meantime, of course, the phone would ring and I'd shout over the static and noise that the phone was not working (when they make Grasp of the Obvious an Olympic Event, you'll find me at the medals podium). I'd tell the presumed caller to ring me on my cell phone, whose number, as it turns out, I couldn't always fully remember and when I did, it was incorrect. If you called, I'm sorry and if you didn't, aren't you lucky?

The actual problem with the phone had NOTHING to do with me, the repair people explained (I was so relieved to learn this; it was the most important part of the explanation, quite frankly) and the causes made my head feel stuffy. Almost every wonder I own in this Brave New World is beyond my understanding when it works, and more so, when it stops working. The pumps don't work cos the vandals took the handles but while I got the rag handy, didja want me to check your oil or wash the windshield?
-bill kenny

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