It's good to talk
I was on the phone pleading with a customer to put some business my way when I heard those familiar beeps indicating an incoming call. "Sorry, let me put you on hold for 10 seconds", says I desperately trying to remember the code for switching calls. Amazingly I got it right, and on came the familiar rubber voice of my answering service. "Hello, I'm a bored middle-class housewife who accepted peanuts from your phone company to record inane crap for them. Oh, is that the time? You have one new message. To listen to it, please press 3, then 6, then #1, then the square root of 62.8 ".
I fumbled with the keypad - so difficult now they're no longer on the desk in front of you - and on came the voice of the Big Ulsterwoman who was standing, judging by the background noise, on the central reservation by the Stockman's Lane turn-off. You know, just by those new yuppie flats. "Hi, call me on the mobile. Byeee". Then Wendy Craig returned. "To automatically call the person who left the message and get billed a quid a minute, press 3. Alternatively, come round to my place for some hot ...". Flinching at such frivolous use of a split-infinitive I punched the button, and Beloved's mobile started to ring.
"Hi, sweetie", came the familiar voice of someone definitely not 'up the junction' in the automotive department. "Just wondered what your e-mail was about". Eh? "The one you just sent me". Oh, er, I was just asking whether you wanted to use my car or yours on Saturday week. "Oh, mine. Isn't this wonderful? I've set my Internet account to text me whenever you send me an e-mail". Well, that's progress, dear. "Yes. If Maggie calls tell her I'll ring her tonight. And don't forget to get some bacon on your way home. Byeee". Click. "You have been billed two pounds forty-seven for this call. And I'll be wearing my leopard-skin corset ...".
Not all technology is useful. Maybe there are some people whose lives would be unliveable without e-mail alerts and the ability to conduct three phone calls at once, but I contend that unless you're a City financier these things are more likely to frustrate than enhance your quality of life.
Smarting in the face of financial ruin, I hit the keypad to take me back to my customer.
No surprise there. Got sick of waiting. Or maybe Wendy rang him ...