Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reclaiming Phonebooks: Changing the World One Phone Number At A Time

The existential crisis continues. To solve it, I decided that concrete accomplishments that make the world a better place are in order. This lead me to a lovely old-fashioned task: filling the new phone book.

You see, the past year my Sprint cell phone, (model discontinued, curious, that) persnicky beast that she is, intermittantly decides to turn off and cease to function. Just as unpredictably, she turns herself back on. Most of the time a dull, black screen stares at me. Every once in a while, she gets animated and BAM! Lists about twenty missed calls from the last month. This is great for business. It is at these times that I hate her and am tempted to throw her into a wall and smash her to pieces. Instead, as punishment, I give her to my toddler who promptly slobbers all over her. She deserves it. I think she's just bitchy because she knows I lust for this sleek little number. Forget economy, I want function and form.

I've tried to fix my Sprint clam-shell. She spent two weeks at the Sprint store. The clerk there figured out it wasn't my fault the thing didn't work. They changed out some bits and pieces and said, "Would you like us to try to transfer over your phone numbers?"

Me: Wah.....?

Clerk: Yeah, there is no guarantee, but we might be able to get some of your phone entries on your new phone. About a 50-50 chance.


Clerk: We had to fix it.

Me: Might?

It was at that moment that technology was hurting me and I cursed it to damnation. (At least my prissy uncooperative phone, that is.) Seeing that I had become a witless victim, I decided to go crazy reactionary and buy a phone book. Streamline things.

There's the church registry, the school registries, the dance, the martial arts, the professional, the neighborhood watch, the friends and family . Too much information, too many places. A book here, a paper there, some on the cell phone. My home, my life needed phone number therapy.

Today my phone numbers have been alphabetized, categorized and therapized. If you are important, or marginally interesting, you have been entered into Dr. Melissa Clouthier's phone book.

The lines are big (Who am I kidding here? Middle age beckons--it's either write bigger or get those funny tip-o-the-nose glasses). The lines are clear. The book has room for growth. A lot of riff-raff got culled. When you don't know who the person is in your Franklin planner, honey, it's time to be banished from the list.

Triumphant might be too strong a word for how I feel. Frankly, I'm too damn tired to feel like I've conquered anything. My accomplishment bar is set so low these days, it's almost embarassing that I even feel a vague sense of self-esteem. And yet, I do.

Guess what? Still own the bitchy phone. But double guess what? She can kiss my rear. I have a phone book now with all those number in it and then some. The only thing she has left to hold over me is the fact that she doesn't really work well or that much. But that's a problem for another day. My helplessness at potential loss, my hopelessness in the face of capricious technology banished! Hah!

Today I changed the world. My world. One phone number at a time.

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