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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Telephone trouble is a family experience

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ben loves to play that he is talking on the telephone. It wasn't long after he began walking that he found his toddler-length arms could reach the portable phone on my bedside table. I saw him walk out of the bedroom beaming as he listened to the dial tone. Then he began pushing buttons. From that day on I hid the phone behind a picture on the cedar chest where it was still close enough to the base to receive calls. Recently I forgot to do that and noticed when I went into the bedroom for something the phone was not on its base. I knew immediately the probable culprit was Ben. "Ben, can you find Grandma's telephone?" I asked him.

"Gamma's tedaphone," he repeated several times while wearing a big grin.

"You go find it for Grandma," I said. He trotted right over to the cedar chest and pulled it from behind the picture. He had hidden it there himself. He not only has a longer reach but he also has a few more smarts than I think he should have. If he can outsmart me before he turns two, what is in the future for us?

My husband seldom answers our cell phone because he has a big fist and it seems he holds the cell phone too tightly. That squeeze activates the side buttons. He'll want to talk and the camera is turned on and he is taking a video of his feet and disconnecting from the caller at the same time. When he tries to dial something on it his flat, broad fingers hit more than one button at a time. He gets totally disgusted with it. I have not looked into it enough to know whether there is a cell phone with over-sized buttons or that does nothing but allow you to talk with someone else on the phone. All the bells and whistles are wasted on him. He wants simple stuff or nothing.

The telephone troubles we have had do not begin and end with little Ben or my husband. I had fallen asleep in my lounge chair while watching television. I woke up and wanted to watch the news. I took the remote and, still half asleep, punched in the number nine to change the television to our favorite news channel. Nothing happened. I tried another channel which has the same newscast, Channel Eleven. Nothing happened. The channel didn't change but instead of getting up and doing something about it, I dozed off again. I don't know how much longer I had slept before I heard the doorbell ringing. This time I had to wake up completely. I was surprised to see the local chief of police there. His presence startled me. Had something happened?

He asked if everyone was okay at our house. I assured him that as far as I knew, we were all okay. I was home alone. He said he had come by because he got a 911 call from our address. I had no grandchildren visiting so I was sure no one had accidently called the emergency center. He didn't understand, and neither did I, but our address had showed up as the place from which the call had been initiated. He said he was glad there was no problem and left.

I went back to the lounge chair and picked up the remote control. I was once again going to try to change channels on the television. That is when I realized I was not holding the remote, but our portable phone. In my half-conscious state I must have been using the telephone when I thought I had the television remote. There was my answer. I had tried Channel Nine and then Channel Eleven. That became 911. I have not yet had the courage to confess this to the local gendarme.

The lesson was not wasted on me. I now put the telephone as far out of my reach as possible while watching television. And rest assured, a call to 911 receives an immediate response.

By Mary S. Roder
Musing With Mary