Okay, so I came home from a hard day shopping and eating and stuff and the land-line phone was dead. I have dial-up, so Internet was dead, too. So I whipped out my handy dandy Tracphone and called  my mother, who lives next door, on her Tracphone. Her land line was out, too. So was the line of our #1 daughter, who lives on our other side. With this information, I called Verizon’s “help” line.

I got a recorded lady who thought she was real. After she told me I could get help over the internet (no, recording lady, I cannot), she goes, like, “Okay, let’s see if we can figure out what the problem is.” (I know what the problem is, recording lady–my phone doesn’t work.)

RECORDING: Okay! In order to help figure out the problem, I need some information. Please enter or speak the phone number you’re calling about, beginning with the three-digit area code.”

CHARLIE: Ask them why didn’t they ever come fix that line that’s been down ever since the ice storm?

RECORDING: Okay–You said 988-697-6094. Right?

ME: No!

RECORDING: Okay, please enter or speak …

ME: <speaking correct phone number>

RECORDING: <repeats it correctly>

More chirpy, down-home friendliness from the recording, with my leaving the room so she won’t pick up Charlie’s remarks (he didn’t realize I was speaking to a recording). Finally, she started telling me about tests I could do to make sure the problem wasn’t in my house. I freakin’ KNEW the problem wasn’t in our house, because the whole neighborhood was out.

RECORDING: I’ve entered a report. If your line is still not working by tomorrow at–



I am not making this up.

ME: What?


ME: What?

RECORDING: If you require additional help, or wish to speak to a live representative, say, “representative”.


After holding for some minutes, while dollars tick away on my cell phone, which I only use for emergencies, a real lady comes on. She, too, tries to tell me that the problem lies in my home line. Charlie grabs the phone and gives Verizon what for, apologizing several times to the lady, personally, for her having to hear what he thinks of the company she works for.

LADY: Could I speak to the missus again, please?

CHARLIE: What are you implying?

LADY: Could I just please speak to the missus again?

ME: Ye-es?

LADY: I’ve reported the problem. The local technician tells me they’re running behind there, but he’ll certainly have you back on line by the 16th.

ME: …Today is the 5th! What happened here, that there’s that much damage?

LADY: Please, ma’am, I’m only the messenger.

And on that sad note, we parted. Our phones came back on line on the 7th… and another part of town went out. I heard that a farming accident cut a cable. Did ANOTHER farming accident cut ANOTHER cable? Is this the Green Revolution we keep hearing about? Time will tell. Time alone will tell.


writing prompt: Imagine having to deal with people who were irritated to begin with, and have been driven to distraction by trying to explain a complex circumstance to a pre-programmed recording.