Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's 1996 Calling...

My husband decided to reduce our phone bill. His first effort was to cancel our unlimited long distance calling. But he forgot to tell, you know, Texas, Oklahoma, Lousiana, Alabam, Virginia...they all got called. I chatted my little heart out.
So the bill was WAY higher than before. He remembered to tell me about the long distance then. He went back to talking with the phone company, and decided to re-instate the long distance plan, and cancel voice mail. It irritated him that he was paying $120 a year for something so unhelpful. I say unhelpful, because I never checked it. The only notice that we had a message was a change in dial tone when you picked up the phone. I never noticed a change in tone, indeed, I hardly ever picked up the phone. It wasn't unusual for someone to ask if we got the message they left left last week. We would get home, and sure enough, there would be three or four messages from the previous few weeks. Everytime, Nate would explain, again, how I could call the voicemail and check messages. I never did, prefering to continue in my obliviousness.
After three years, my long-suffering husband decided to try another method of message recording. After cancelling the voice mail, he sent me to buy an answering machine.
I went, talking to nate on the cell phone all the while. I told him I couldn't find them. He said they were on the aisle with the phones. There was no aisle with phones. After asking for assistance, I was directed to a small shelf of phones nestled between shelves of DVDs. The worker said they didn't sell many phones anymore. After looking, I found one, and only one, answering machine.
Later that evening Nate watched some tapes he found in the attic. First, a 1996 Florida Gators football game. I was on facebook, constantly interrupted by his cries of, "Look, did you see that play? You're not even watching!" No sir, I was not. I have to draw the line somewhere, and watching football games from 15 years ago is that line. Afterwards, he watched a tape of the tourist attractions of southeast Alaska that he had bought when he went there in the late '90s. It too, was circa 1996. Seeing the boxy, unattractive clothes, the neat white ankle socks with black keds worn with unflattering shorts and giant tshirts, made me understand why no one has '90s parties.
Later, as I was getting ready for bed, I heard Nate in the other room setting up the answering machine. I listened to him practice out-going messages: "Hello, you've reached the Penland residence...Hello, this is the Penlands, please leave a message after the beep," ect, and the machine's voice saying "You have no unheard messages" over and over. I realized I hadn't set up an answering machine since 1999. That combined with the evening's viewings, made me feel warped back into time. It cracked me up. I laughed at the poor little machine. Nate didn't like my suggestion for an out-going message. "Hello, you've called the 1990's. Please hold while the space-time continium attempts to correct itself."

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