Another One Bites the Dust

I have resisted for years. I have stood strong. I have scorned the general rudeness and self-importance of cell phone users. I have given icy stares to people talking loudly enough to make it impossible for me to paste together a cohesive thought in my blissfully silent inner world. I have huffily gotten up from the table when my shared company interrupted our conversation to take a call, assuming I would raptly and agreeably sit and wait for them to finish handling something wholely non-urgent. And now I have been assimilated. Yes, I believe I can already feel a radiation tumor starting to stir behind my right ear. The NSA now has one more line for which they have no legal blocks to monitor conversations for seditious intent encoded in the mundane euphemisms of “Hi, honey, I’m at the grocery store. What do you want for dinner tonight?” and “Hey, I’m running late. I should be home in about 15 minutes.” My current phone number should follow me to my new cell phone within the next few days. And when it does, I’ll be cancelling my home phone service.

This means that I now have to make good on that vow I made to a month and a half ago. And I quote:

I vow that, one day, when I get a cell phone and I probably will eventually succumb because of changing social demands on my availability and the dwindling supply of public phones, I will keep my conversations in public places
(1) short and task-oriented.
(2) directed towards a wall or a floor or something that will absorb the sound so that other people around me don’t have to listen to it.
(3) out of situations in which others are waiting for me to finish so that they can have a prearranged interaction with me (e.g., dinner table, service counter, etc.).

Let me also add one: When not alone in the car, I will not make phone calls unless they are urgent/timely (like getting directions to where I’m going) and I have asked for and received permission from all those trapped in the vehicle with me. Let’s see how I do now that I’ve gone over to the “other side”. Anyone have any suggestions for where I could download some un-stentorian, un-obstreperous, non-“hey, everyone, isn’t my noisy ring tone cool” ring tones? As much as Bill Lumbergh would amuse me, I think something like nature sounds would be kinder. I’m thinking, “wolf howling”, “crickets chirping”, “thunder clapping”, that sort of thing. It has to be reasonably real sounding. Not some Casio “my first synthesizer” mock ups.

As for my 7 month Vonage experiment, let’s just say that you get what you pay for. $15/month seemed like a great deal except that people would call me and my phone wouldn’t ring. Or it would ring once and I’d pick up and there would be no one there. At first, I had trouble getting it set up to broadcast the calls through the entire house via the old analog lines. They sent me from initial tech support, to tech support in India, to tech support in the US, and by then the call quality was so bad I had trouble understanding the guy. I never did get call broadcasting in the house to work. So, I resorted to having only one phone that was tied to my cable modem. Then I had problems with calls getting dropped in the middle of the conversation. (Tech support fixed those, mostly.) But they never responded to any of my lesser complaints filed via the web. The customer service guy simply explained that they were growing too fast to keep up with their workload. When I called today to talk to Vonage about closing out my account, the guy asked me if I had also tried contacting my internet provider about my Vonage phone problems. I’m like, “Dude, phones are supposed to make my life easier. I have other things to do with my time than to get caught in the middle of buck-passing.”

Except I said it more diplomatically. Because I’m swell that way.

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8 thoughts on “Another One Bites the Dust

  1. First,… Get a bluetooth wireless headset. They are really awesome for when you need your hands. (like cooking in the kitchen while on the phone).
    Plus they’re tumor-licious!!

    Second,… Don’t be a tool and walk around the world with said bluetooth wireless headset on. (when not actually in use)You Will look like a complete tool. And, I’ll start referring to you as “1 of 3”.

    Third, (and why I’m numbering these.. I haven’t a clue) I’m surprised by your Vonage experience. I’ve only had a few odd dropped calls here and there. But, nothing like what you’ve described. Also, as for broadcasting through your analog lines. You did unplug the line coming into the house first, right? Otherwise who knows what would happen. Certainly nothing good. 😉

    • I got the free phone. It isn’t bluetooth enabled. So, I got me a corded headset that looks like it could pass for iPod ear buds. I think some day, I’ll upgrade to a something fancy like a phone-PDA-camera-iPod device with massive storage. But before I go there, I figured I’ll just get used to having a cell phone first.

      I can say that one thing I have enjoyed about having cell phones be so ubiquitous in modern life is that you can’t tell the crazy people from the sane ones with phone headsets. They all look like they are just walking around talking to themselves. 🙂

      I did unplug. I unplugged on the outside of the house. And when that didn’t work, I disconnected the main wire feed from inside the basement ceiling to the rest of the house. I consulted tech support. I read the manual he gave me. The most I could get was one other phone to ring and that was still a downstairs phone. The signal never carried upstairs. I’m guessing that the electrical signal didn’t have enough juice or something. But I’m not a tinkerer. I just want my phone when and where I want my phone. So, I lost interest in the project after that and just lowered my standards.

  2. Oh yeah,.. as for a ring-tone. I find that the traditional sound of a phone ringing, is the least offensive. Or, just leaving the phone on vibrate.

    • I must admit I did find me some nature ring tones. So, now I can be like, “I’m so cool because I’ve got nature ring tones.” 🙂 I like the “loons over the lake” one the best. The meowing kitty was free, so I nabbed that one too.

      I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet since my phone number hasn’t yet transferred (so no one can call me). I may just end up vibrating. Plus, there’s the added benefit of, well, vibrating. Maybe future phones will have little massagers on them so I can call myself and work on that knot in my neck.

  3. I applaud your cell phone etiquette commitment! It’s pretty easy to be courteous of other people if you think about it. Which I guess most people don’t. Which is sort of the definition of uncourteous. So, you see, it’s circular.

    Heidekins has a chicken skwaking as her ringtone — it’s hilarious!

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