austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Reach out and touch someone

The answering machine built in to the telephone in my apartment has a message on it. I know this from the blinking red light on its console. I had no idea my telephone had an answering machine built into it. I knew it had a calculator, which I thought was a surprising and novel innovation. However, the last phone I'd bought before this one I bought in 1990, when the state of the frilleries was much more primitive.

I'm curious how to get the message, as the buttons have obscure labels like ``Restore AC'' and ``Pause +''. I think the AC and the + are calculator features. I'm also curious who called me, as there's no person on the continent with my number. I'd gotten the phone for a visitor I had over for a month. I can imagine someday needing to place a call, but since I don't even order out for Canadian Two-For-One Pizza the phone's real purpose has been to call my parents on their birthdays, surprising them. And last year I was home for my dad's birthday.

Phones represent an odd zone of incompetency for me; I'm not good with them. Despite several people and quite a few types I've never used a cell phone successfully. I either can't get the thing to turn on, can't get the phone number to dial, or I can't get it to hang up, and whoever gave me the phone to make some quick call and save them some bother has to take it back and do everything but the talking for me.

Once my dad lent me his cell phone for a trip I took in to Manhattan, so that I could call from Penn Station when I was ready to come home and they could meet me at the train station. After fifteen minutes trying to get it to respond to me in any way I went to one of the station clerks and asked if by any chance he could help. Fortunately he had the same model, and was able to get the phone to dial my parents. Of course, the reception was so flaky all I got across was a couple minutes of static, but my parents understood that.

I bet it's a telemarketer.

Trivia: Helen Sweetstory, author of the ``Bunny-Wunny'' series, was born on a small farm on April 5, 1950. Source: Peanuts daily strip of 29 February 1972, reprinted (among others) in Snoopy Features As The Literary Ace, Charles M. Schulz.

Currently Reading: Under the Black Flag: Expoits of the Most Notorious Pirates, Don C. Seitz.


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