Thursday, April 09, 2009

The phone, the phone, the phone

I had just gotten home from Kadin’s very fun 2nd grade “Australia Day,” when the phone rang. Unfortunately, I was in the bathroom and I thought, “Well, I could have gotten home five minutes from now, so why kill myself to answer? They can leave a message.” And then I heard a small, thin voice coming through the machine saying, “Mom?… Mom?….” Oh dang it, I should have answered.

It was Rees. But where? He should be at school. There’s no way to call him back. He’ll probably try my cell next, but I’ll just call the school in case. So I call the school and sure enough, while it is ringing at the school my cell rings. I hang up the land line, pick up the cell, and it is Rees. Apparently the school has been evacuated due to some sort of leak and I need to go pick him up at the High School.

Sure, that throws a wrench into my afternoon plans where I had much to accomplish, but no worries, he had wanted a snow day, and this would be like a snow day but without the snow.

It turns out that Rees is no problem at all. Quite happy to amuse himself. But every time I sit down, get my focus, and try to get something done, the phone rings. A robot voice: “There is an important communication for you. Please press any numeric key to receive this message.”

What is this? Some kind of a prank? Is it from the school? The city? If so, why didn’t they identify themselves? Is it from a telemarketer who will say that because I pressed a numeric key I agreed to something? I hang up.

About twenty minutes later, again the phone. Same deal. If it is someone official, they would identify themselves, I think. If it is a marketing ploy they might not. If it was a marketing ploy that identified themselves as someone official, at least they could be accused of misleading the recipient. As it is, it’s similar to an email that says, “For important information, click this link.” I’m not going for that.

A few minutes later, again the phone rings. I don’t answer. No message. Then my cell rings. This is the first clue I have that this call really is for me personally. My two numbers dialed in quick succession. The robot voice is now on my cell. This time I press a “numeric key.” I guess this is so they can be sure an actual person is getting the message, not a machine, the toddler, or the cat. I am instructed to listen to the entire message and then press 2. Okay. So there is a long message about the school evacuation and where to pick up my kid. I listen. I have picked up my kid over an hour ago. At the end, I press 2.

The phone rings again. Of course I have to answer, it might be one of the kids. It is a teacher from Rees’s school, the one who is coaching their soccer team. He tells me their afternoon game is still on as planned, but I’ll need to bring Rees to the venue myself. Fine.

A few minutes later, again the phone rings. Robot voice again asking for a numeric key. I thought I’d pressed 2 already! I can’t bear to listen to the long message again, so hang up.

I am not getting very much done in the end. Evacuation this, evacuation that. I have also received several emails each from the school, the district, and something called nxt, informing me of the situation.

Then the phone again. I answer. It is Greg: “I just got a call about an evacuation at Rees’s school.” Yes, yes, yes, I KNOW! But of course Greg has to check in with me. So I tell him Rees is fine, I have picked him up, he is now at the skate park with Dakota.

And that’s about it. It’s time to take Rees to his afterschool soccer game. The sum total accomplished in my afternoon! I did enjoy the next couple of hours watching Rees play soccer, however. It was a beautiful day and he really puts his all into it.