Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A tele-recluse, I subscribe to an almost Teutonically strict call-screening service, essentially nitro-powered Caller ID. Callers with blocked, unlisted, or otherwise Caller ID-proof numbers must go through a three-step process in order to cause our phone to ring. Each step is narrated by the same recorded female voice - I call her Yvonne - and her behavior toward the caller is richly comic to me:

Step 1 - Yvonne "answers" phone. Sternly, with thin patience: "The person you are calling does NOT take unidentified calls! Your Caller ID was not received! To enter an access code, press 1. To record your name so that we may announce your call, press 2." Yvonne can barely bring herself to address the caller in a cordial manner. She is scolding all the way through Step 1, openly skeptical that the caller is credentialed, desirable, not a telemarketer or a creditor.

Step 2 - Prompt for recording/access code. Let's assume the caller chooses Option 1. Yvonne, still with deep suspicion, yet now with a barely perceptible thaw: "Please enter your access code." Yvonne is willing to give you this one chance, but she's still far from sold on you. You can hear her wary squint over the phone.

Step 3 - Putting-Through of Call. Warmly, clearly grinning: "Please hold, while we attempt to complete your call." Ah, so you're one of the good ones: Yvonne is so sorry she sounded so cross!


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