Robots and police

My husband anxiously interrupted my reverie. I was lollygagging, still in bed, thinking about the day ahead. Little did I suspect that I would shortly receive a call from the police.

Still in bed and squinting in the obtrusive daylight, I perceived that my mate, who is technically not very savvy, was holding his cell phone. He was frustrated and needed my help, because the flashlight was on and he couldn’t turn it off. I opened my eyes fully, took the phone, focused with a little difficulty, and after finding the flashlight icon, jabbed it a few times. The light refused to extinguish itself.

Ultimately, I realized that it wasn’t the flashlight at fault; it was the touch screen that wasn’t working. Since I knew from long experience that unresponsive electronic devices usually respond to a reboot, I tried to turn it off. Impossible. The sliding button refused to obey my continued swipes. Of course it didn’t. It couldn’t. The touchscreen wasn’t working.

As I continued to press the two buttons that access the turn-off screen, the phone began to beep. I didn’t know that a long press on those buttons would send out emergency calls. To my horror, the phone was dialing 911 and I couldn’t stop it. The police called back. Fortunately, he understood my plight and graciously accepted my apology.

The phone excitedly called the other emergency contacts. I had to reassure the kids that the calls went out automatically and their father was home safe and sound.

But the problem persisted and I was still in my nightgown. Using my phone, I called tech support.

A futile back-and-forth ensued. The phone robot finally accepted that it wasn’t capable of understanding which phone I was calling about and why I wasn’t using it.

At last a live agent came on. I tried to explain what the problem was. Once she realized I was calling about my husband’s phone and not mine, she had to ask him to allow her to speak with me. Then she instructed me to reboot the phone. Once again, I explained that I had tried to do just that, but wasn’t able to because the touchscreen was unresponsive. As we were going back and forth, the phone line dropped.

I moved to where the signal was stronger and I redialed, not at all looking forward to another session with a robot and a junior tech. But while I was plying the keyboard on my phone, the phone line dropped again.

I dialed yet another time, now using the almost obsolete land line. After the initial, forced repartee with the robot, a real person came on. Now I had two problems: my husband’s phone was on the fritz and my phone was too, but for a completely different reason. Try to explain that. I leave it to your imagination.

And there was an added complication: the phone signal in our house is practically non-existent, so we must use wifi to make calls. The tech agent had some difficulty understanding this and was trying to teach me how to turn off the wifi because it fights with the (presumptive) phone signal.

While I was trying to convince the agent that I can’t make calls from home except on wifi, my husband walked in, triumphant smile on face, working phone in hand. He had put it on the charger. Problem solved. Eventually, my problem too was solved. With some trepidation, I looked forward to discovering what the rest of the day had in store.

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