Going Out For Vaginas With Satan

I have a new phone. It’s a fancy phone. I resisted this change for the longest time; finally my sister leaned on me so hard that I cracked. Previously I had a phone which couldn’t be killed. You could drop it from hundreds of feet, throw it in a lake, embed it in concrete, run over it with a truck; nothing could dent it or prevent it from placing and receiving calls. When it would fall out of my purse at someone’s house, I would pick it up and say “I’m so sorry, is your floor dented?”


It’s the electronic equivalent of Cher, it just keeps going. Ten years from now I’ll probably see my phone, covered in sequins, performing in Vegas.

When my old phone rang, the ringer was so loud that the dead turned over. Mark Twain once appeared on our doorstep asking if the ringer had a lower setting. The only downside to this device was that it neither took photos nor accepted them. A definite drawback when one has a child.

So at the behest of my family, I got a smart phone. As far as I know it can do everything; it takes photos, sends photos, looks up how many times Cher has staged a comeback tour, and reminds me when Mini Tex has a doctor’s appointment. My new phone actually made me a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch the other day. However, it’s extremely fragile. If I was to drop it from fifty feet up, it would explode into thousands of tiny, brilliant pieces. If I leave it near the bath it will sing a burbly swan song.

Funny enough owning a fragile piece of equipment doesn’t bother me. But I must admit that even though my new phone can instruct me how to walk to Hong Kong in seven thousand hours or less, I’m having trouble communicating with it.

For starters, my old phone had T9 texting. A feature that I only just learned how to use two years ago. Previously my texts were curt, succinct messages. Then I learned the magic of pressing just a combination of letters rather than hitting seven four times to get one “S”. I used this function with varying degrees of success. Because T9 texting ensured that I always created a word, if I got most of the words in a message correct, I would just send it. This often created a bit of confusion.

Message to Tex: I sat that we were out of milk but I made offer wayward.

Or sometimes I would forget how to change a word that had the same sequence of numbers as another word for example “nope” and “more” were the same combination of numbers, leading to conversations like this.

Message from Sula “Have you seen Meredith recently?”

Message from Unwashed “More.”

Message from Sula “?? Could you elaborate?”

I bought a Samsung Galaxy which has this wonderful function called “Swipe”. Basically it means that you brush your finger across the letters rather than tapping each one individually. The only downside is that the phone has to guess what you are trying to say sometimes if one only gets close-ish to a letter. Thus my name becomes “Satan” and fajitas become “vaginas”. Which is awkward when you are texting someone whom you’ve just met, wanting to invite them to lunch and offering up nefarious activity with the lord of the underworld instead. “See anyone” becomes “Sr. Antoine” and most memorably, after I tried to text my mother to wait for further instructions, I instead asked her to wait for fisher inductions.

Happily, no matter the amount of uncertainty my texts create, my family will always forgive me when I follow a message of dubious content with a photo of Mini Tex.

A Use For Small Talk

After discovering a large, rapidly growing puddle in my basement, I called my mother to get the phone number of her friend who is a contractor. While reciting his contact information, she accidently switched two of the digits which led to the following sequence of events.

I call the random number, because it is long distance, the man does not pick up. Hence I begin to text about my household issue to the random number, who I still think is Garry’s*, my mother’s contractor friend. At the same time, the wrong number recipient reconsiders failing to answer my call, figuring that it may be a long lost relative offering him money, or a cruise, or a hooker. Actually I’m not sure about the last one; he seemed like a standup guy, although I’m fairly certain he would have accepted the money or the trip. At any rate, the mystery man, who I think is my mother’s contractor friend, calls me back while I am texting about my small basement lake.

The Great Unwashed – Hello! Gary, thank you so much for calling me back.

Mystery Man who is not Garry- Hello? (Admittedly I found it odd that his voice sounded so different on the phone from in person but I forged ahead with the conversation.)

The Great Unwashed-  It’s Unwashed, the Great Unwashed, there’s water in my basement. Like a lot of water. A large puddle actually. Is this a problem? I don’t know what to do, I mean I’m considering getting frog eggs and growing some tadpoles in there but besides that, I haven’t a clue. Also the puddle is located between the only two useful parts of my basement; the stairs and the laundry machine which means I have to walk around the side through the den of spiders if I want to wash my sheets. This is bothersome today because Maddie, my dog just dried her wet, muddy fur on my bed.

Random Guy who is not Garry and is super confused- Um. I. I’m not who you’re looking for.

The Great Unwashed- You’re not?

Complete Stranger – No. You have the wrong number.

The Great Unwashed- Do you know anything about basements? Because your number is the only one I have at the moment.

Kindly and Extremely Understanding Stranger who is still talking to me  despite the fact that it’s long distance and using his minutes- Only the average amount of  basement knowledge.

The Great Unwashed- Well I have a sub-average amount of knowledge about basements, obviously given that I’m considering growing frogs in mine.

A pause while the recipient of my wrong number considers this thought.

The Great Unwashed realizing that my calamity has reached new heights as it’s now pulling in people I don’t know, who don’t live in my city- You know what? It’s ok. You have yourself a good night.

Somewhat Confused Mystery Man- You too.

I had always thought pleasantries and small talk were a waste of time. Now I see that their usefulness lies in figuring out early on that you’ve called the wrong person before you tell them all about your house owning woes and plans to breed Kermit the Frog next to the washer and dryer.

Kermit is feeling unsure about living in my muddy, flooded basement. (Photo Credit: Jim Henson Productions)

Kermit is feeling unsure about living in my muddy, flooded basement. (Photo Credit: Jim Henson Productions)

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of contractors I later got in touch with and coached me through a muddy situation.

We Won’t Even Mention My Filthy Goat

I’m visiting my parents. This can mean only one thing- Telemarketers! I adore the people who make it their job to interrupt my dinner from across the world. The nature of their employment means they have to talk to me, which is kind of like having a captive audience.

Normally when people from India call offering to clean my ducts. I’ll answer with “No ducks. Do you clean chickens? And I won’t even tell you how filthy my goat is.”

My parents enjoy that line. Tragically for some reason the people on the phone do not. Last night the phone rang at eight thirty PM. My mother had already retired to bed and I was about to myself. “Who would be calling this late?” I thought.

When I picked up the handset suddenly there was bustling noise in the background and a man with a thick accent added himself to the call.

“Hello, do you need your ducts cleaned?” he asked.

The problem with noise is that in an effort to become louder, my normally high voice becomes higher. I go from sounding like I’m twelve to random people asking me whether I like Barbie and Dunkaroos.

I do like Dunkaroos but that's besides the point. ( Photo Credit : rccblog.com)

I do like Dunkaroos but that’s besides the point. ( Photo Credit : rccblog.com)

“Yes I do in fact” I answered approximately an octave and a half higher than my normal tone. I have no idea whether my parents require duct maintenance however it sounded like there was a party on the other end of the phone and I wanted in.

“That’s wonderful ma’am, my name is” a garbled connection and the noise swallowed up his name. “Can we talk about your ducts?”

I asked his name twice more. Each time it was swallowed by the party in background. I was transferred to his manager when I asked him to spell it so I could hear.

The manager came on the line, full of excitement for my ducts. I inquired about where their office was located. The manager answered that they were in a suburb of the metropolis close to my parents. Based on the time of night, the stock quality to his answers and the party that continued to rage in the background, I doubted this.

“Really? Do you know a good place to eat there?” I asked hoping to catch the man up.

“Why do you want to date me?” Was his retort. Very fast. Very funny. No matter where he was located, the manager was clearly quicker on his feet than his junior employee.

“I’m sure you’re very nice but no, I spent New Years Eve in that city a couple of years back and I want to know where the locals eat.”

It was at that point that the man realized he was not getting a sale out of me and I was bid adieu.

I’ve been informed to use the stock “chickens” line next time.

My Almost Impulse Buy

While most girls I know tend to make impulse purchases along the lines of shoes, magazines and clothes my impulse buys tend to be less conventional. Yesterday I was walking past our local Shopper’s Home Health store. Though Roscoe and I live in what could arguably be described as the student ghetto, there is also a large retirement complex a couple of blocks away. Personally I feel this makes us ideally situated because it means we have easy access to both beer and diabetic compression stockings.

Just outside the Home Health store was a sale table with large signs advertising “50% OFF!” I was drawn in by the SAD light sitting on the table. Living in a Northern latitude, I am a huge fan of these and have a habit of pressing them upon everyone I know. Hence the idea of paying half price for such an expensive and useful item excited me. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the price sticker on the SAD light and my hatred of shopping prevented me from seeking out a salesperson to inquire about the price. But my eye was drawn to something else on the table-a black, stationary home phone with large buttons and numbers. The kind of phone that is designed for the elderly or those with impaired vision.

I immediately wanted it. Not only because it was a dying breed what with the proliferation of portable phones but because I instinctively felt it was useful.

I stood there pondering how I would justify this impulse buy to Roscoe when I got home. I pictured walking in the door. “I bought us a telephone!” I would gleefully cry. And then Roscoe would be elated because he would jump to the conclusion that I had finally replaced my seven year old cell phone. Although I am not bothered by the fact that the buttons don’t work from time to time, Roscoe claims that receiving texts like “tgamks for the grdat dimmer” to show my gratitude when he cooks supper are irritating.

However when he realized that I had actually purchased a phone for a landline that we don’t have, he might be annoyed. Even once I pointed out that it would be useful into our eighties when we could no longer see small buttons. But then I remembered my new technological fact for the week.

FACT – Computers can be plugged into televisions

ANOTHER FACT- Cameras can also be plugged into printers.

Or maybe that’s the cards inside of the cameras. Regardless there isn’t enough Printer Crack in the world to make me attempt that last electronic feat. As I lovingly held the phone designed for the elderly a thought occurred to me. Could this enormous black phone be plugged into my cell phone so I wouldn’t get a neck ache when I tried to balance it on my shoulder? While it wasn’t excellent justification for the purchase, it was going to have to do. Whether or not this was actually true would be decided by Roscoe when I got home.

And that was when I reached into my pocket and realized that I had forgotten my credit card. Placing the phone back on the table and sadly waving goodbye to the big buttons which I could still see from a distance, I headed home. Of course once I arrived home my hatred of shopping took over and I concluded that perhaps we didn’t really need a large-button, landline phone.