Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dial tone

Yes, I still have a landline phone. And it is my only phone. I think I’ve had this one for 25 years, the whole time I’ve been in this house.

There have been times, like last week, when I get irritated with people calling wanting to sell me stuff. What happened to that national do-not-call registry? Callers seem to ignore it, and when the voice is a recording it is hard to tell them or to identify them sufficiently to file a complaint. I just checked – I registered my number in 2003.

The guy who called last week asked if I was on Medicare. I decided that was none of his business. Instead of answering his question I said the usual, “Could you put me on your do-not-call list?” To my surprise and annoyance he said, “No.” So I slammed the phone down in hopes of discouraging him from calling back.

And I think I broke the phone.

Apparently one annoyed slam too many. When I next used it I heard a rattle. And today when it rang I picked it up and heard nothing, perhaps it didn’t actually connect. And twiddling the disconnect button disconnected. Since whoever called didn’t try again I assume it wasn’t important.

But it was enough for me to decide time for a new phone. Online checks indicated good prices in nearby stores and I picked one up for $9.00.

I unpacked it and found the first problem. The chord that plugs it into the phone outlet in the wall isn’t long enough to go around my desk. I have a cord that is long enough, but to use it I need to buy a connector, something that allows me to stick one cord in this end and another cord in that end. It took some doing and lots of strange results on Google to figure out what the thing is called. Once found Google said the price for the little part is about 75 cents – plus $4 in shipping. I could also buy it locally for between $4.50 and $8. The cheapest I could get the little gizmo was about half the price of the phone.

My desk is a rolltop model built to house a computer – a 1990s computer. Modern computer towers don’t fit in the area designed for the “pizza box” models. My nice big monitors don’t fit in the bay designed for CRT screens and, with them in place, I can’t open most of the drawers. Some of the drawers are sized for the old 3½ and 5¼ floppy diskettes. The pad designed for a mouse with a ball doesn’t work so well with a mouse with a laser.

A lot of stuff is sitting on the desktop, including a lot of paper in front of the monitors, and there isn’t room for a phone. So I put the phone on the floor.

And that leads to the second problem. The cord from the handpiece to the base is too short for the base to stay on the floor. I pick up the handpiece and the base is left dangling. I need to take it back and take a closer look at the $18 model.

At bell rehearsal tonight I mentioned all this to a fellow ringer. She was definitely not sympathetic. Why not a wireless? I said I wanted to avoid the electromagnetic radiation. She didn’t buy it.

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