Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hanging on the Telephone

And you ain't safe when you get home
She's gonna call you on the telephone
Hey boy that's Balwyn calling
Get off the phone and get out of Balwyn
from Skyhooks, "Balwyn Calling"

I'm in the phone booth, it's the one across the hall
If you don't answer, I'll just ring it off the wall
I know he's there but I just had to call
Don't leave me hanging on the telephone
from Blondie, "Hanging on the Telephone"

Telephones have played an undeserved place in my life. They have been the cause of dissension, argument, misunderstanding -  in fact, anything negative short of all out war.

And tonight was no exception.

I came home, ate my dinner, poured a wine and thought, "I'll call my good friend 'B' in Australia," which I did. "B" lives in Melbourne Australia, or DID when last I spoke to her about 72 hours ago. But no. Apparently she is in Canada and her phone is disconnected. At least that is the conclusion a rational person would reach, as every time I dialed her number I got a Canadian voice telling me the number was no longer valid.

Well I know my good friend B has run-ins with those in authority and is a bit of a larrikin, but I very much doubt that she's hot-footed it to Canada in the last 72 hours, had the phone connected, and not paid her bill, and had the phone disconnected in such a short time span and without telling anyone. And knowing B, she would unlikely to have had her phone redirected to wherever she is anyway. She's a free spirit!

So why was I getting Canada when I called 'B' in Australia? Was it me? Was it B? Or was it .... Vonage - my phone call provider.

I called Vonage, and after having gone through the robot voice recognition thing, I got a human, a human who I am sure is a very nice person if you met her socially, full of warmth and empathy. But as a tech support person ... Let us say, she was not an A plus.

After several thousand questions, one of which was what was the make and model of my first car (ASIF I can remember that - I can barely remember to take the trash out), I was allowed to tell her my problem. "When I call Australia, I get Canada," I explained. She put me on hold. A hundred years later she returned and told me, "Oh when you call that number in Australia you get Canada." Sigh. Scream. I know that already yet! Why did she think I was calling? Where is the Valium???

I bailed out with a ticket number and a promise that it'd be looked at, "within 48 hours".

Not happy, but beggars can't be choosers. I have other friends than "B". I'll call "G" I thought.

This time it wasn't Canada. I got the answer-machine of a man who sounded Spanish though he could have been Portuguese or even Croatian.

I called the number again. Same man. Same person who I didn't know.

And so I called Vonage, and attempted to circumvent the robot voice. I told the robot, "human human human," and before you knew it I had ... a human. Well I THINK it was a human. Before I could say I am K and what my first car was, I was presented with a spiel about he was pleased to help blah blah.

"My first car was a Renault," I interupted him, pronouncing it à la Francais. Obviously my tech rep had not studied French. WRONG! "REN-ALT," I tried, attempting an American accent. "Correct." Phew! This show was about to get ON THE ROAD! Sur la route! Whatever!

If I wasn't hyper before I was now. I proceeded to explain my problem.

I don't want to wake up all those people in Uruguay and Latvia, I explained.

I could go on, but the upshot is, well, nothing. Well almost nothing. Before I lost it, someone came on the line and said that there were Australians calling in, and there seemed to be a problem with phone calls going to the wrong country.

Houston we have a problem.

I have a problem.

Vonage has a problem.

Shall I take my own advice - "Pay peanuts and you get monkeys?"

Stay tuned.


Ian (chinamonty) said...

CIA is re-routing your calls maybe.

TJ said...

Definitely, either the CIA or the Vatican.

Anonymous said...

Beam me up, Scotty!

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