"It is the poet's job to remember"
Gerald Stern

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Please Mr. Verizon Man, Is There A Telephone In Your Bag For Me?

I come from a long line of basic telephone people. My Mother had a rotary phone until she passed away. My grandparents had only one phone in the house...a basic black Bakelite with a cloth cord and a receiver that weighed more than my first child. And my great-grandparents over in Italy had one of the original models...yell over the chickens to your neighbor.
I tried to explain this to the wireless Verizon guy in the store. I just wanted a replacement of my broken, simple, cell phone. However, I am convinced there is a little microchip implanted in the Verizon-ites who work there that refuses to acknowledge the words "basic," "no frills," "streamlined," or even my more colorful and descriptive "freaking plain phone please."
We paraded past all the Blackberrys, Iphone's and "with this you can do everything" phones. He looked at me in disbelief when I insisted that not only did I not need any of their magical powers, but I also probably wouldn't be interested in time travel or accessing Mars just because it might become available on some futuristic model.
I explained that I do consider myself a little advanced. I can leave messages and text. I can use the camera, although my thumb is usually in the picture and it takes a couple of moments for me to figure which way the lens is supposed to point. I carefully explained again that I really just
want to dial the phone and have someone on the other end say "hello."
Finally, in a tone reserved for the aged and the dumb he sighed and pointed. I followed the direction of his outstretched arm and had to squint to see the phone.
It was huddled in the corner...a wallflower, looking small and sheepish at the end of the line while all the others winked and blinked their "come hither" charms on dressy, well endowed bodies.
"All it has is the phone and a camera," he said, shaking his oh-so-young-techo-filled-head at me. I picked up the little number and flipped it open.
"Perfect, " I replied...and took a picture of my thumb.

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