Monday, February 18, 2008

Web Wails

The Bag Lady suffers greatly from ‘Internet-interruptus’. She has a dial-up connection and, living in the country, has only one telephone line. For some unknown reason, no matter what time of the day or night she gets on the Internet, her phone will ring. Now, the Bag Lady’s phone doesn’t ring very often, but it’s almost a guarantee that as soon as she pushes that ‘connect’ button, someone, somewhere will decide it’s time to call Scratch-nut Creek Ranch!

The Bag Lady has a neat little feature that informs her when someone is calling her when she is on the Internet. It’s called Internet Call Director, but she prefers to think of it as Interfering Call Demander. A little green screen pops up and the computer makes a ringing noise. This invariably happens when she is attempting to up-load a photo onto her blog, which seems to take forever anyway! She will have been waiting and waiting; gone to the bathroom, gotten a coffee, vacuumed her living room and negotiated a peace treaty between two small Balkan States; then, just as she thinks the photo is finally going to appear, that little green screen will pop up! Now, the little green screen is also kind enough to tell her who is calling. Most of the time, she will disconnect from the web and take the call. And most of the time, it will be someone who recognizes the fact that she has been on the Internet, so their first words will be “Were you on the computer?” (Unless it’s the Cowboy, who will add a few choice words about the devil’s tool, and the end of the civilized world as we know it…) That question always makes the Bag Lady want to lie: “No, I hired that woman to screen my calls to make people ask that very question…”

The Call Demander has several features that the Bag Lady does not take advantage of, partly because of her smart-ass tendencies. There are 6 options: answer the call, tell the caller she’ll call them back, send it to voice mail, or play one of your own recorded messages. The Bag Lady has never recorded one of her own messages because she a) is afraid of what she might say, and b) isn’t that busy that she can’t answer the phone. She really thinks there should be one more option – IGNORE! Because she can see who is calling, and can recognize when it’s a telemarketer, she really wishes she could just tell the Call Demander to ignore the call. But her Internet Provider doesn’t have that much imagination. If the little green screen tells her someone is calling her from Michigan, she knows that it’s a recording exclaiming about the latest sales at WalMart or Macy’s or somewhere, and she really wishes she had a “f**k-off” option. Of course, the recording wouldn’t know the difference, but it would certainly make her feel better!

She doesn’t have voice mail, either. She has an old-fashioned answering machine that works just fine when she is away from home. She figures it doesn’t make sense to pay her telephone company even more money for them to take messages for her. Nor does she have call-waiting. That, to her, is just one more example of rudeness. To have call-waiting on your home phone is like telling all your friends that yeah, okay, I’ll talk to you, but if someone else is trying to get through, I’m going to put you on hold because it might be (someone I like better), er, important. In the Bag Lady’s experience, if it’s that important, they’ll call back. If it is “life and death” important, the operator will still break in and tell you there’s someone trying to reach you! When the Cowboy is talking to someone who puts him on hold to answer another call, he hangs up.

The Bag Lady doesn’t get so many phone calls that she needs any of those things. Call waiting would be a complete and total waste. Why, when she gets perhaps 3 calls in one day, would she think they would all be calling at once? And that’s what busy signals are for! The Bag Lady likes to think that occasionally, someone will try to call her and get a busy signal, which would then make them believe, mistakenly or not, that she actually has a busy life!

Perhaps she should remove the Interfering Call Demander from her computer so that people will get the occasional busy signal…nah, she might miss a call…


Leah J. Utas said...

I say go ahead and miss the call.
If it's important the caller will try again and will tell you all about how annoying it was that he/she had to wait.
Can Call Demander be turned off at your whim?

I like the Cowboy's response to being put on hold. I'm sore tempted to do it during private, social calls.

the Bag Lady said...

dfLeah - I'm not sure if I can disable the Call Demander, I've never tried. Because the Cowboy often can't get a signal on his phone when he's in the bush, if he calls, I like to be able to answer. After all, I can access the internet any time, but it may be hours before he can get another break and a cell phone signal at the same time!
The Cowboy only hangs up when he's been put on hold during a private, social call - it annoys him no end, and I agree, to be put on hold during a social call.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Bag Lady,

As a dial-up user this winter. I can identify. Today it took me twenty minutes to put two comments on my own blog and when I tried to do a third comment, the screen froze completely, I'll try again later or tommorrow or whenever!


the Bag Lady said...

dfTerrie!! Happy to see you!! Now you know the daily struggles of the poor country bumpkins! Annoying as hell, isn't it? There are some blogs I can't even visit anymore because I know what will happen.
As soon as I save enough pennies, I'm getting high-speed, I swear!!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Bag Lady,

I was probably the last person in New York to get high speed but it was soooooo worth it.

Hope its in your future.


the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, dfTerrie! It's just so darned expensive out here...another example of discrimination against the poor country folk...between $400 and $650 for the installation, apparently. I've been reluctant to check into it again. Keep hoping the cost will come down.

JavaChick said...

We have voice mail (in lieu of an answering machine), but not call waiting. I'm with you - I don't see the need of it. With voice mail, if I happen to be on the phone and someone else calls, they can leave a message. I don't like being put on hold so someone can check their call waiting either. Not that I talk on the phone that much. I generally avoid the phone as much as possible. If I could do everything by e-mail I would.

the Bag Lady said...

The Bag Lady isn't a big phone-talker, either. But it is nice to be able to keep in touch with the Cowboy when he's working. Of course, mostly that's once a day, to tell her what time he'll be home for supper, because that can vary a great deal.

Scrumpy said...

Well, I for one believe you have an important, busy life even without the busy signal!

When I win the lottery on Tuesday, I am adding you to my payee list. It will be nothing but first class, quicker than the speed of light access for my Bag Lady blogging buddy.

Reb said...

They must have changed the Call Demander from when I had it, I am sure there was an ignore choice. So record a message for the 800 calls, or as you don't have voice mail - send it there.

I can't stand call waiting - we have it at work and it cuts out the voice of the person (speaking in a thick accent) that you are already dealing with. In an office we don't need call waiting, we need two lines and a proper phone. My new cell phone has it (part of the bundle) but it is a feature I will never use - mostly because I never get many calls, but also because I hate it and think it is rude beyond belief.

Hilary said...

I totally agree with the rudeness factor of accepting other calls while already chatting on the phone.

Even more so, I dislike when someone takes a call on their cell phone while sitting in a restaurant, leaving their lunch parter staring at the walls and table cloth while they chatter away about things that can easily wait. I understand answering the call, and dealing with it if it's of even a mildly urgent nature, but not just to chit chat. It's a huge pet peeve of mine.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm weirdly averse to many things, and one of them is talking on the phone. I mean, I CAN do it, but if it's a nearby person I'd rather talk to them in person, and if it's a faraway person I'd rather email.

So I gave up feeling guilty about unanswered phone calls a long time ago. I'd rather screen and let someone leave a message, so I can leave a message in return when I know they're not going to be home. Nice, huh?

But then we do have voicemail, so I can hide behind phone tag rather than have actual phone conversations with live humans.

And yes, I used to be in the mental health profession, why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

where have I BEEN?

Ive laughed at your comments on cranky fitness and finallydragged my weary a** over here to check you out in all your baglady glory.

too funny.


the Bag Lady said...

Hi, mizfit! Thanks for stopping by, and hope you can find your way back again soon!