Media commotion

I’m not kidding. I swear I’m not kidding. These are the facts: 1) I have a phone in my home, 2) I have a phone company that installs, services and sells phones, and 3) no one can call my phone company. You heard that right – like a Chevy dealer that doesn’t sell autos and a coffee shop that stocks no coffee, no one can call the local phone company. They are a “walk-in” facility only.

I thought the lady was kidding me. I really did. You cannot phone the phone company. Oh, don’t think I didn’t try. Here’s where you may think I’m stretching things, but such is not the case. I called the number listed for tech assistance via my cell phone on the phone company’s website. I listen to 14 minutes worth of advertisements. Again, I am not exaggerating. Fourteen, that’s 1-4 minutes of ads before they even acknowledged that they were my phone company. Then at the end of the call (Did I mention it took 14 minutes?), the pre-recorded demon from hell on the other end of the line said, “This number is no longer used for technical service. Please consult your directory.” I’ve never been a fan of conceal and carry, but I quickly searched out that number instead.

And that was the point at which I slammed down the receiver, threatened to kill it if it said another word, got in my car and drove across town to walk in to the walk-in-only facility.

Face it, landlines are dying out and I don’t think that we ‘land-liners’ have much priority. Most of the phone company trucks are headed in other locations to work on the Internet so the little old gals can play their online solitaire. In other words, the house has burned down but they haven’t taken down the ‘For Sale’ sign.

So, the response to my driving across town to a phone company that doesn’t take calls? “It may be fixed in five days. There seems to be a problem.” No kidding? I mean, you figured that all on your own? Wow! What a high-tech solution! I know that I’m new to town and I don’t have the ins and outs down yet. I came from the backward country serviced by Cass Communications where if you had a phone problem, you called a number, talked to a real person and within an hour a Cass Comm truck was sitting in your driveway. Compare that to “It may be fixed in five days.” I can’t believe what hicks we were back in Arenzville.

Flummoxed, I sat down on the couch and soon fell asleep. I’m seldom afforded this opportunity during the day, but I think that a part of my brain had died from spending the morning talking to machines and phone companies that had no phones. And while I was sleeping, the strangest dream …

I awoke to find my garbage still at the curb after sitting there all night. When I called the trash pickup folks, they told me that their waste management system no longer accepted waste. I could only throw away things that I really needed. Strange. I got in my car and drove down Walnut Street to fill my tank only to find that Huck’s gas station sold no gas. Luckily, I had enough fuel to make it to County Market. I noticed that mine was the only car in the parking lot of the town’s most popular grocery mart. Perhaps everyone else had run out of gas. I parked and walked inside to find only empty shelves. The food store had decided to no longer sell food. Maybe that’s why the parking lot was empty … the entire population of Jacksonville was home starving to death. This was becoming strange. All day long I visited stores that no longer provided the services they promised. Taco Bell served only American food, Pizza Hut had taken the pledge against anything Italian, McDonald’s no longer offered ‘macs’ and had changed its name to simply Donald, the Best Buffet had imposed a ban on anything from the Far East and Brown’s Shoe Fit Company sold only socks.

My cell woke me with a call from the phone company telling me that it would probably take seven days for them to drive the eight blocks to my house instead of the original five days. I was still groggy so I mumbled, “Okay,” and hung up. When I finally came to my enraged senses, I moved to call them back and complain, then I remembered … you can’t call the phone company.

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About the author

Ken Bradbury is an adjunct instructor of theatre at LLLC after retiring from Triopia. He entertains on the Spirit of Peoria riverboat and is the author of over 300 published plays. Website:

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