A long, long time ago, in a state capitol city not so very far from here, I was seated in the basement of The Enormous Hospital System Mothership, where She Who Would Become TDW-Mark II was undergoing surgery of some sort. I was seated next to, well, let’s simply call him my father in law.
At this point in the celebrations, the divorce from The Plaintiff had concluded, and she and I had a week-on-and-week-off child custody arrangement. My adolescent children had cell phones, and had both me and their mother on speed dial.
So, Number Three Son had occasion to call me, but I could not make out what he had to say, and my attempts to re connect with him were for naught.
I did not know if this was generic adolescent ‘gotta call dad’, or something emergent. That latter was very unlikely, but, after all, I have kinda spent my life in the “this is sort of an emergency” business, and therefore considering that possibility is an occupational hazard. Therefore, since I was NOT at home, and, should my children need me, their ability to communicate that to me in a timely manner was mission critical, well, The Phone Company, and their inability to connect a freaking call something like 12 blocks from the freaking state freaking capitol, well, to understate the thing, I found it unsatisfactory.
Father In Law offered the use of his phone, on Another Carrier. I entered the number of my son, hit “connect”, and, par miracle’!, just like that, I was speaking to my son!
We concluded our conversation, since it was a generic “ought to call dad” call, and I asked Father In Law if I could make one more call. He assented.
I then called “customer service” (spit!) of The Phone Company. I explained my problem, and how this was not acceptable. Phone Company Minion asked my location, and I described myself as being one floor down from street level, in waiting lounge of Enormous Hospital System Mothership. Minion then regaled me with a bit of RF theory, to wit: “You cannot reasonably expect a cell phone to have a reliable signal when you are underground!”
I asked Minion, do you have caller id?
Could you tell me the originating telephone number for this call we are having, right now?
He read back Father In Law’s phone number.
Is that a Phone Company number? If not, what carrier services that number.
Why do you ask?, responded the Minion.
“Because, that is the carrier who is henceforth going to be receiving checks from me approximating $200/month, because my phone, my childrens’ phones, and the phone of every mo$%#r f@!%&er who will stand still long enough to hear this story, will be giving their business to this carrier, whose phone I presently hold in my hand, in this basement, as you and I converse!”
Having said that, I realized that there is no satisfying way to slam down a cell phone. I miss plain old wired phones.