Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can you hear me now, Cablevision?

The phone receiver and cord lay lifeless in my hand. They had been ripped from their usual place in the course of the struggle. When one says that a phone is dead, it does not usually bring up images of it being killed. I had killed my phone.

My odyssey began some 3 months ago. My existing phone carrier's charges were being substantially undercut by another carrier. Why not save a few bucks? The switchover would be painless. It turned out to be anything but.

The initial quick installation took 4 days before phone service was 'fully operational'. During that time, despite my pleading, cajoling, begging and screaming at anyone and everyone who would listen, I had intermittent, inconsistent service. The company blamed the problems on everything from the old carrier to me. You get caught in this vacuum of issues, allegations and false solutions and in the end you are swallowed whole.

It was like being in a 15 round prizefight. At the end of the 4 days, when both my lines would ring when people called, and when I could in turn make outgoing calls without fear, I felt like I had created a bond through adversity with my new phone. We were now family, and we would protect one another in the future.

I was wrong. The phone continued to be my enemy. It often gave little warnings that it was about to erupt, like in the days before a volcano blows. The lights on my phone would blink like lights on a Christmas tree. Calls would not go through. But the disasters were small, and they came and went.

Late last week, and through most of this week, the battle began in earnest. Incoming calls were not happening. Then, outgoing calls became a distant memory. The carrier was contacted, and another round of useless action ensued. It is definitely this, it is assuredly that, it must be , it has to be, it should be, it could be, it isn't. I wasn't happy.

When I thought, 2 days ago, that we had found THE ANSWER, I was disgusted but hopeful. Then the blinking began anew, the outgoing was not going, the incoming was not coming, and I snapped. With a rapid series of movements, I raised the phone from its cradle, and BANGED IT back down repeatedly. If I was going down, I was taking the phone with me.

$60 later, a new phone arrived. Later that day, the service people appeared to resolve THE PROBLEM. By the end of the day yesterday, I was assured all was well in my phone world. So far , so good. But I am telling my new phone that it is on a very short leash. One wrong move, and it will join its brother. BE WARNED.

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