Thursday, May 12, 2005

Cingularly Unfunctional

You know what? I'm getting a great deal on my nationwide calling plan! For the ten minutes of each day that my phone actually has a connection, it's great!

But I must say that I'm paying a mere 60 dollars a month for two phones! 60 dollars! That's such a great deal that I don't mind the fact that the phone works neither at my office nor my home. And it has a really cute picture of a smiling panda on the display. And that's worth thirty dollars a month right there. I'm not sure why it has a panda, or how to get rid of it, but I must say that Cingular Wireless gave me a really great deal on this phone.

Nine dollars I paid for this phone! Can you believe it? This phone, that doesn't seem to have a volume control, is awkward, unwieldy, and uncomfortable to use, and whose battery leaps from its protective sheath like a lemming from a cliff every time the phone is more than softly placed on a pile of papers. It is very, very good at holding down papers, by the way, as it displays the comforting message "Network Search" for 23 out of the day's 24 hours.

In fact, this wonderful phone that I am paying only 60 dollars a month for only functions while I am driving to and from work. As we all know, that is the best and safest time for any important and potentially distracting conversations that will take your mind off less pleasant things like, I don't know, brake lights.

I hate talking on the phone while I'm driving. I have enough trouble avoiding the fleet of white minivans going sixty in the fast lane and Johnny Acura Integra going eight thousand miles an hour in the slow lane without worrying about the phone. In fact, I don't even like having a cellphone. I don't want to be reachable, and I also don't want to have to worry about my cellphone popularity.

Everyone else seems to be talking on their phone all the time. They must know a lot of people. And those people must be really interested in everything the phone people are doing. I only got my cellphone so I could call my wife, or she could call me. In case there's some sort of invasion and we can't be near each other. Then we can call each other and spend those last few hours crying into the phone, waiting for our painful deaths.

But, of course, all I really use the phone for is this sort of thing:

"Honey? It's me. What kind of pickles do we buy again?"

So, in the interest of furthering the pickle discourse and to avoid the potentially disastrous mis-purchase of any and all condiments, I called Cingular Wireless. If you've never called them, I highly recommend it. The best thing about calling them is that you have to navigate through a button pressing menu so esoteric and torturously labyrinthine that you have to trick them into talking to you. The only way I managed to get an actual sentient (and I use the term in its broadest sense) human on the line was to press the button for "report a lost or stolen phone". I mentioned this to the being on the other end of the line, complimenting him on his company's dedication to customer service and he said "Oh. Yeah. You have to do that."

"Well, I was wondering if there's a reason I don't get any reception at work, or at home, unless I am in one particular area of the kitchen, hanging out the window where my soft flesh is exposed to nature and may, in all likelihood, be nibbled by ambitious raccoons."

"Where do you live?" he asked speculatively, and I told him.

"Oh. That's a really bad coverage area. Have you tried climbing on the roof, or holding a lightning rod in your teeth?"

Encouraged, I asked him if their merger with AT&T would help my reception in any way.

I think he may have giggled at that. "I, um, I don't think so. Have you considered moving?"

"It hadn't, honestly, occurred to me."

"Well, you do have the panda, right?"

I had to agree that the panda really made it all OK. I should really be glad they aren't charging me more for that little scamp.

"Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

No, Cingular, I guess not.


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