March 30, 2005

You're Very Important ... Sorta

Is it just me or has anyone else realized just how much of a burden call waiting has become?

I hate to sound like an old fart, but since I’m headed more toward than away from that direction, I might as well practice. This sound-off stems from a phone call I received from my sister who lives in the city. It was about a week ago and since we don’t talk too frequently nowadays, I was happy to have this chance to catch up.

I don’t care for the telephone anymore. It almost seems intrusive. My cell phone, on the other hand, is a most welcomed device, always coming in handy while I’m on the road. I don’t use it for social visits because no matter how hard I’ve tried, I cannot seem to comprehend all the hidden charges, so I keep to my free calling and rarely, if ever, give out the number.

Before the days of my home computer, I was an avid telephone user on my days off from work. There always seemed to be someone I simply had to call - had to connect with for whatever reasons, and more often than not, much of my leisure time was spent with a receiver protruding from one ear or the other. Things are very different now as most of my connecting is done via keyboard. I like it better this way and feel less vulnerable to interruption.

Here is a brief sampling of the profound conversation that took place between my sister and myself last week:

She: “So what’s been going on there lately?”
Me: “Well, SJ’s doing well and making more money than I am, Ed’s doing fine and is enjoying his promotion…”
She: “SHIT. Wait a second. Call waiting.”
Me: (to thin air) “Oh. Okay”

Series of clicks …

She: “You there?”
Me: “Still here.”
She: “Good. I thought I lost you. That was the local clothing drive – they’re coming by next Tuesday and I … SHIT… hang on a second, this might be important.”
Me: (to thin air) “Yup”

Series of clicks …

She: “Ca?”
Me: “That’s me.”
She: “So anyway, what’s new in your life?”
Me: “Well, not a whole lot, as I was saying, we’re all doing well and waiting patiently for springt …hello?” (upon hearing annoying click in my ear again)
She: “Dammit, let me see if this is the call I’m waiting for.”
Me: (saying nothing now, just tapping foot in seriously aggravated fashion)

Series of frigging clicks…

She: “Good, that was my call. Now, I’ll have to cut you off in about 10 minutes to run an errand, but I’m so glad we had this chance to talk.”
Me: “You’re joking, right?”
She: “Oh hell, I have another call … do you want hang on a minute?”
Me: (with eyes up to God) “No, I’ll call you next week.”


Me: “Hello? Helllllllo?”

Dial tone.

I hung up and wondered what the hell that conversation was all about and returned to my computer where I could feel secure and cozy. I was SO glad I had heard from my sister.

Now, what slays me is this ~ we pay EXTRA for the call waiting. Why don’t they just call it by its proper name, “Annoying-Ass Call Intrusion?” Maybe then we’d think twice about having it installed at all!

I cannot recall the last time either myself, my fiancé, or my daughter was on the telephone, received a call waiting signal, and was at all happy about it. Seriously. Most often, I’ve witnessed people swearing at the confounded service and being pissed off at it for having the audacity to kick in. Come on, you’ve never heard anyone say “Damn” or “Tch” or “Crap” when they get that call waiting signal? We all do it!

Talking to someone then rushing off to call waiting sends out a pretty significant and clear message … “You’re important enough for me to talk to right now … kinda sorta.”

What ever happened to the world I used to live in when the busy signal was enough to prompt a second or third attempt? Is it really necessary to have to TELL people, “Oh, I’m on another call right now, call me in 20 minutes (or tomorrow, or never afuckinggain)?” Have people truly grown that stupid? The busy signal would upset them so much that they’d chalk you off their Christmas card list ~ or worse, out of their will?

I’m thinking if someone is going to go out and get a voodoo doll and stick pins in it for the sake of getting me back for issuing them a busy signal, they probably weren’t much of a pal in the first place. The old fashioned busy signal sends the message faster, easier and in a much less personal fashion. And if it’s really an emergency, the operator (remember them?) can interrupt. I know this. I used to be one.

Just think of all the telemarketers who would no longer have to take it personally because I’ve told them to eat shit and bark at the moon. What a beautiful world it would be.

I’ll have to talk to Ed about getting rid of call waiting. I’d call him now, while it’s fresh on my mind, but I’m afraid I’d get interrupted and become homicidal before the conversation was finished.


Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I got rid of call waiting for just that reason.
Hope it doesn't ever get to the internet..crap..hang on the other site has just loaded..

4:07 PM  
Blogger psuche said...

Yeah, I got call waiting when it first came out. When the first call came in while I was on the phone I answered it just because I could. After that I would just let it beep in my ear until they went away. Never signed up for it again.

4:40 PM  
Blogger blue2go said...

I have alwasys hated call waiting. It seems to be quite hated, especially by those put on hold for another call. Even Seinfeld had an episode on it!

7:31 PM  
Blogger L said...

argh. kept trying to comment...

I LOATHE call waiting. It is Evil.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

I hate it.My neighbour always phones me then jogs between talking to me and someone else.Then she cant remember what she was saying and asks me to recap.Then goes back to the other call.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

The worst is when you are speaking with someone, and they click over and then come back to you and say "Can I call you back later? I need to talk to so-and-so" making you feel 2nd rate to whomever interrupted. That's rude.

11:37 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Beautiful bitching Carol! love it ! have you tried ignoring the beep? i do that sometimes and it's equally annoying...and the person i'm talking to (the chosen one!) is none-the-happier as he is subjected to a conversation with these little gaps" in whatever i say..! it's a no-win situation..

2:34 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

I have never had call waiting. Looks like you struck a nerver, here!

Thanks for your comments on my blog, and I'll be checking out yours as well.

Nice to meet you!

Seeking Clarity

7:00 PM  
Blogger The Rambler said...

Annoying-Ass Call Intrusion! I like it, and it sums it up beautifully. We had call waiting in my house for about 5 minutes when it was first introduced in Australia. You're right, it does show the two callers in question who is more valued.
It's the busy tone all the way for me!

12:32 AM  
Blogger NYCbeauty said...

Hilarious. I NEVER interrupt a call when I get a call waiting. I just let it go to voicemail and then call the person back after my first call is done. I do hate it when my friends make me hold on though. I HATE IT MORE when they take the second call over mine.

I am ambivalent about cell phones. It seems that people who have banal issues to discuss with me should just be able to leave a voicemail at home rather than tracking me down wherever I am so just say "howya doing." "Ummm, I'm on the bus." You know?

Great post, as usual!

6:21 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I figure if Death doesn't use call waiting then why should I? After all,he just comes and says, "hey, we're outa here" and he has your undivided attention. No one calls and interrupts him, he just stays focused. I like that in people.

Great Post!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Lizabeth said...

Thanks for visiting my blog - already love yours!

My cell phone has call waiting automatically, but it also shows the caller id and lets me turn the "beeping" off. 95% of the time I ignore it and I can see who's calling long enough to politely end the conversation before clicking over.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I have a rule with friends and family. I will wait for a minute on hold and then I hang up. You will call me back if it is important.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Swifty said...

I've never used or saw the need for call waiting. As you say, if it's an emergency then the operator can intervene (I'm assuming the same can be done here in the UK). In any case why would you want to know there's another call? You can only hold one conversation at at time. If it's important I'm sure they'll call back. Personally, I think it makes for rude, impolite people. I'm sure I'm not the only person who would hate to be at the receiving end of a switched call. How nice to think that your conversation had been re-prioritised and put on the back-burner.


5:01 AM  
Blogger Johnny Virgil said...

I ditched call waiting a long time ago. Also got an unlisted number. Best 2.50 a month I ever spent. Caller ID is nice though -- now I know not to pick up the phone when the inlaws are on the other end. You can't beat that with a stick.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Excellent post. I'm here via Frustrated Writer's site. I think I've also seen your comments on others' sites. (It's obvious you write well. :)

I like how you describe yourself in your sidebar, including by not limited to the passions of writing and music. Please stop by my site "Good Vibrations", named after the BB Song. I'm a fine artist (photography, painting, jewerly design), music lover who listens (can't sing well) and dances, and who must also write. I'm low on the commodity of sleep.

For now, we are slave to Call Waiting, because we still have two teens at home. They're only way of reaching me because I'm self-employed and use the phone for business a lot at certain times, is w/ Call Waiting service. (Cell phone is emergency back-up, but I also love the freedom it affords.)

I abhor the treatment Carol describes here in comments. Grrrrrr

2:00 PM  

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