THE GOOD OLD
5 April 2003
Remember the good old days?
The days when you could find a clerk in a department store to check out your merchandise because
every department had its own cash register?
The days when shoe salesmen actually helped you try on shoes, measured your foot, and
seemed to know something about what was good for your feet?
The days when you pulled into a gas station and someone pumped your gas, checked your
oil, checked the air in your tires, washed your windows and took your credit card (or
cash) into the office to ring the sale up for you--and did it with a smile--and charged less than a dollar a gallon?
The days when your doctor would come to your house in the middle of the night if you
got real sick?
Remember when you could dial "O" on the telephone and the operator actually helped?
Remember when you could dial 611 and get a repair person who could help you with your
phone. And didn't charge you anything?
I came home from work early today and I was all jazzed -- I'll save the reason for that
for another entry (gotta keep you coming back). As usual, the computer had disconnected
itself while I was gone (it misses me), so I went to reconnect and....nothing. It tried
and tried but couldn't establish a connection.
The fax machine is also on the same line, so I tried the telephone part of the fax
machine. Dead. Zippo. Nada. Not a sign of life.
OK. I'm from the old school. I picked up the other telephone and I called 611. Silly
First you get a long lecture about how you can report your problem by the web or by
e-mail (somehow it seems to forget that my problem is that I can't GET to the web or
collect e-mail because there is no frigging dial tone). It also says that when you
get to the web you can "leave the number where you are at." Cringe. Grammar has
gone the way of all things at the telephone company. I'm sorry, but even well modulated
tones do not forgive the use of "at " at the end of a sentence.
But I digress.
So I went through the forty bazillion voice mail messages and finally got to my
choices. If the problem is on my personal phone, I should press 1. I press 1. What do I
Instructions on how to report the problem via the web or e-mail.
$#!#@%$#@!, I said, in well modulated tones.
I dialed "O" to get operator assistance. "What number did you
dial?" she asked.
"611," I said.
"That's the only number I have for assistance," she said. I explained that my
problem was that it wanted me to make an on-line report, but I couldn't get on line to
make a report. "I'm sure there must be other options," she said. I hung up on
!#@%!@#$@$@@#, " said in less well modulated tones.
But I went back to 611, which appeared to be my only hope. I listened to the
commercial. Both of them. I finally got another list of messages which said that it would
check the line. Then I got a recording which said that the problem appeared to be
"either on the line or in the phone" (I don't have a phone on that line) and
that if I wanted them to come out -- for a fee -- I could call and make an appointment, or
did I realize that I could report this problem via the Internet?
+_)(*&^%$#@*&^%$#$%^&*((*&$#@!~!@#$%^&*, I screamed in well
So here I sit with no Internet connection and no body connected to any phone
at the phone company, and wondering what in the HELL I'm going to do about getting this
Of course I'm not exactly dead in the water. I do have a second line and it's
possible to connect that to the computer, which I have done to post this entry
But I long for the good old days when there would be a friendly voice offering me
reassurance, assistance, and good grammar when I dialed 611.