A couple of years ago, Larry and I had our house phone that we’d had since 1974 removed. They say all good things must end, and whether that’s true or not, I was so very ready to part with AT&T. Our relationship had been a rocky one from the very beginning. I hated to give up our phone number though for many reasons. How do you find someone’s number if he has a cell phone? No phone book that I know about has listings of cell phone numbers. Our sons always called home on that number as well. It was the number we’d made them memorize when they were tiny tots. I think it was the 2016 election that finally made up our minds for us. Every time we answered the big black tyrant in our living room, some politician with golden words dripping from his silver tongue tried to convince us to vote for him or his choice of candidates. His words usually dripped with a foreign accent.
We figured since our sons were all grown up and on their own, they could manage to use the cell phone, and anyone who really needed or wanted to call us could figure out a way. Back when cell phones became popular, our internet wasn’t dependable enough to cut off the house phone. Now it’s wonderful. (Thanks, Connexon!) When you live in a small town, you can find people who know people who know people who have numbers. Someone will have the right number. During that infamous election of 2016, we could hardly use the phone ourselves between the politicians and salesmen. We finally started our break with Ma Bell and AT&T in our effort to save that $100.00/month that we spent so the politicians and salesmen could bother us day and night.
We learned quickly that it didn’t do much good to say to a recording, “I’ve already voted. I went in on the first day of early voting and took care of that. Everyone in this household did, for that matter. There’s really no point in calling here again. You’re wasting your time—and mine—especially mine!”
I guess I started thinking like my Uncle Solomon Nichols, who was a wise man indeed. One day he was sitting out in his front yard and reading his Baxley News-Banner. Suddenly, his phone - one of the old black ones that resemble an oversized black frog - was screaming from the living room behind him. Simon Wooten, a dear friend and co-worker, came walking down the sidewalk toward him.
“Hey, Sol,” Simon called, “you lost your hearing? Don’t you hear that phone ringing?”
“Yep, I hear it,” Uncle Sol replied.
“Well, ain’t you gonna answer it?”
“Nope, I put that phone in for my convenience, not someone else’s,” Uncle Sol replied, as he turned the page of the newspaper and continued reading.
Now, I must confess that I was naïve enough to think that shutting off the house phone would solve my problem, that those calls were coming only to my house phone. It didn’t fix anything, but I learned another valuable lesson. It took a while, but now every telemarketer out there is calling me on the cell phone to fix my Medicare problems. Funny! I didn’t even know I had any. They also want to get me an extended warranty on my car, sell me life insurance, or offer me an online job. I’ve even won large sums of money from Publisher’s Clearing House several times. I’ve never gotten any of it though because they want me to send them large sums first. I am smart enough not to do that.
Even though I was certain I had rid myself of the AT&T clan, I didn’t. Last week, they sent me a letter saying they would cut off my internet if I don’t pay them the hundred dollars I supposedly owe them. Mind you, I very carefully made sure all the bills were paid before we gave them that last disconnect order. We had them cut off our internet five months ago, but they don’t seem to know that. I do know that it will be an icy day in Hades before I pay them another penny for anything. As for cutting off my internet, “Cut away, Ma Bell, you and all your descendants. Cut away.”
I’m just totally convinced that someone somewhere - some scientist or our representatives in Congress or the state legislatures could figure out how to fix this problem. I don’t need a robot to clean my house, or a car that drives itself. Just stop these nuisance calls, and I’ll be a happy woman.
Should you wish to contact me, you may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact me post haste if you know how to stop the calls.
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