Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fun With TracFon

Monday 2/27/2006 cont.
Once upon a time, someone had a horrible idea and the cell phone was invented. That is probably a simplification of the facts, but it gets to the point of the matter which is I hate cell phones. Always have, possible always will. It’s annoying and rude to have some asinine little song blaring at you insisting you answer, it’s pathetic and lame that you then have to decide if the person calling you is important enough for you to interrupt the person or persons you are currently with, it is grating and horrible when you hear other people’s phones going off and their subsequent yammering…. And that’s not even getting into the cost of minutes, contracts, voice mail, the confusion of nationwide calling networks, roaming fees, bad or nonexistent reception….there are plenty of other things I would rather worry about and be frustrated by in life than my phone.
However, I do understand the fact that sometimes, as in the case of a jaunt across the country, it makes sense to have a lifeline. Not that I could not as easily (perhaps at some point easier) called my support network from a payphone (except for the fact that there are very few payphones left, having lost the technological battle with, you guessed it, cell phones.)
For this journey, Donnie’s dad had gifted us with a TracFon. The thought behind this being that you didn’t have to set it up with a year-long contract, you could just buy a wireless phone card and add minutes to the cell phone to use as you wished.
Okay, back to me and the cats, sitting in the Toyota next to the surplus place, with about 14 minutes left on the phone. I had a phone card of 250 minutes to add, but since I had set up my TracFon with a Portland phone number, every call I made in Ohio - including 1-800-TRA-CFON cost me 3 minutes. I made an attempt to add the minutes, which consist of typing the equivalent of the first 900 digits of pi into the keypad, before my last fourteen minutes disappeared, in chunks of three.
Not realizing at the time that I had to call from a landline to do this.
My minutes almost gone, I finally contact Dubai. A nice lady on the other side of the world reads off three strings of at least 25 numbers each for me to write into my notebook and hopefully add once I get done talking to her, thus magically making my phone work again. I try.
It doesn’t work.
I try again. I must have somehow lost a number in the translation, because I still can’t get it to work. I give up, use my last two minutes to call my dear beloved father and quickly say, “Hi Dad! I only have two minutes left on my phone but I wanted to tell you that I’m alive and we’re fine and I’ll call you again soon, okay?”
“Okay honey, that’s all I wanted to know.”
Click - Beep.

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