The phone hadn't rung in a while. Possibly for weeks, but I hadn't noticed. Much.
Truth be told, the silence was a relief.
For months answering calls on the “landline” had felt like fielding fly balls on the moon. The ring would start and so would the race to find a handset, which might have been buried in the couch … or in a toy box … or left outside … in the rain. Even if I found one of the four handsets before the fourth ring switched the call to voicemail, the dang-gummed thing wasn't charged.
I would have let the calls go to voicemail and not worried, but then … Someone (not pointing fingers at THE KIDS) had unplugged the answering machine. And SOMEONE ELSE (yours truly) didn't bother to investigate the problem or at least try to plug it back into the outlet.
If it's really important, I told myself, they'll call the cell phone. Honestly all we're missing without the home phone are wrong numbers, robocalls … and …
Oh. Yeah ... doctors' offices.
Inertia has it's price.
Showing up for a “bumped” appointment wasn't that costly. Someone else in the practice could fit me without rescheduling, so it wasn't a total loss. But it did prompt me to move some heavy furniture, relocate a warren of gnarly dust pookas and try to solve the problem of the non-working answering machine once and for all.
Not that I was successful.
Someone (not pointing fingers at THE DOG) had chewed through the wire.
But even that wasn't the whole of the problem. One trip to a big box store, four new phones and one new answering machine later and someone (giving all the credit here to THE MAN) emerged from the basement, scratched his head and exclaimed:“There's no dial tone. Did you cancel the service?”
Three days later … when he (VERY REASONABLY) asked if I'd called the phone company to sort the whole thing out … I looked at him, cocked my head to the left and growled.
More wishful thinking.
I will call. I will call. I will call.
Which I did -- two days after that – fully expecting to rearrange one day, five weeks from now, so I might wait for a technician to arrive somewhere between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
What I didn't expect was a return phone call – five minutes later – telling me the problem had been fixed from their office. At no charge.
Why did I ever want to get rid of the landline? I asked myself. How on Earth could I have seen it as a nuisance?
The home phone is communal. It's part of the family conversation. With it (and numerous extensions) I can be assured that at some point in my children's forthcoming teenage courtships I will know who's calling. I might even be able to glean what they're saying.
Cell phones don't tether as easily to apron strings.
And with that, my new love of the landline is rekindled.
“Oh, by the way,” I mention to my husband in passing. “The phone is fixed. The problem was on their end. They fixed it remotely.”
For a moment he is silently stunned, as I will be when words finally tumble out of his mouth.
“Perhaps we should just get rid of the landline,” he says as I wait for the punchline.
“Seriously? The easiest problem ever fixed in the history of things that need fixing around here and you want to get rid of it?”
“Who said that? Wasn't me. Must have been the dog. I was over here just minding my own business, chewing on the telephone book.”