Hanging on for a smart telephone
Icame rushing out of the bath this morning. No, the house wasn’t on fire. It was something worse. It was the phone, and a voice urging me to buy a plot of land. It sounded suspiciously like the voice that last week urged me with equal passion to invest in insurance. Maybe the voices had gone to the same school for professionals. Maybe it was the same voice moonlighting during out-of-work hours.
It is possible that word had got around that I had never bought anything as the result of a telephone conversation, and I was now the target for newcomers seeking to make a mark in the industry.
“You get that guy to buy insurance, take a trip abroad, sign up for a plot of land, order the Encyclopedia Britannica, or pick up the latest mobile phone, and your future is assured. You could even take over my job,” I can imagine the voice’s boss telling her. Just the kind of challenge that inspires youngsters who would like to skip a few rungs on the ladder in the race to the top.
On second thoughts, I would like to buy a mobile phone though. One that answers such calls on its own without my having to jump out of the bath. Or cut short my lunch. Or pause in the midst of whispering sweet nothings.
I have a few ideas for the kind of stuff the phone should come preloaded with. Here are some: “Press 2 if you think you are speaking to a sucker who will spend a fortune on buying a plot of land on the basis of an anonymous telephone call,” it can say, adding, “Press 4 if you are willing to hold on for the rest of the day while the owner of this phone plays a round of golf, attends a couple of meetings, visits the theatre, spends time at a birthday bash and returns home in about, say, 14 hours.”
‘Press 3, and keep on pressing until all the ice in the northern hemisphere melts’
Or: “You have reached my house. Now please hang up and I will not call the cops.”
Or: “Please pay attention while I recite the complete works of Tolstoy.”
Or: “Press 3, and keep pressing it until all the ice in the northern hemisphere melts, and after that press 5.”
Or: “I have been instructed to advise you that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, on the equator or on any planet that begins with the letter M.”
Or: “Yaeeeeeee…” (a high-pitched whistle that rearranges the cells in a caller).
I recognise that callers have to earn their living. But what about my fundamental right to an undisturbed, relaxing bath?