The phone rang.
It was the automatic refills service from my local pharmacy mispronouncing my name and asking if I'd like to reorder my prescription.
I usually hang up.
These are among the few legitimate phone calls we receive on our antiquated landline. A phone we can never find because unlike the corded wall phones of years' past -- the cordless handsets of today are never where we left them.
Not that it matters. It's the listed number for sales calls we can't legally block.
The kids and I have stopped rushing to its siren song, not caring who's on the other end. We listen instead for the answering machine to pick up and reveal the sales pitch.
More times than not, it's a telemarketer. Or a politician. Or a wrong number. But more often than not it's the drugstore.
"I'll call back when I'm ready," I say to myself, bristling with the irritation of having to deal with an automaton that never gets my medicinal history quite right.
The complexity of taking two different strengths of the same drug in alternating intervals is too much for the modern machine mind to follow. And, apparently, asking in person NOT to be put on automatic renewal doesn't tend to keep one from being automatically prompted with robocalls.
Ignored, I know the tin man's calls won't go away. They will become insistent.
This evening perhaps, or tomorrow, the phone will ring again with its irritatingly pleasant mechanical voice: "Hello! ... This is ALL-CONSONANTS PHARMACY ..."
It's inevitable, so I stay on the line.
"Your prescription is ready to be refilled. Would you like to refill this prescription?"
"Oh ok ... I'll just press one. Sure fill away!"
The mechanical man tells me my prescription has expired and my doctor has to approve the latest refill. Shall we call and renew this prescription?
Please press One.
"Sure ... call away!"
"Your prescription will be ready for pickup on Thursday," advises the machine.
I hang up the phone.
I don't know why this irritates me so.
Maybe it's the impersonal nature of progress? Or, more likely, the lackluster imitation of personal nature that's really at the heart of my ire.
There's only so much patience a person can maintain as they try to get a computer to understand the spelling of their names.
"I said 'C not 'T';"
This is why I try to speak to a human whenever possible.
It's why I forgo the do-it-yourself check-out kiosks and wait in line where there is the possibility of a smile, some chit-chat, and a "have-a-nice-day," no matter how scripted it sounds.
So many pet peeves, so little pet peeve pellets to feed them with. Let this one go.
But then the phone rings again ...
"Hello! This is ALL CONSONANTS PHARMACY. Your prescription can't be refilled at this time. Thirty days have not transpired since your last refill."
I want to scream. So I do. ARRRRRGHHHHH!
“I know how you feel,” said my son, who had recently found the limit of his own communications patience as he tried to phone a friend and was told he had to dial a few extra digits.
“Do you know I have to dial area-code 518 now to call my best friend, who lives in the same town as me? Isn't that crazy?”
“Yes. It's almost as crazy as your pharmacy calling you to refill a prescription they have no intention or capability to refill.
But that's progress.