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…