Monday, I got yet another call from the Car Warranty idiots. I know it was them because they’d been leaving messages on my voicemail, so I know the number. Monday I was in a mood, so I answered the call.
First, I was treated to the menu of options. (I really hate those menus, especially when none of them fits the circumstances and you can’t reach the operator.) In this case, one of the menu options was to actually talk to a living person. Here’s how it went:
Woman: May I have the Make and Model of your vehicle?
Me: I know this is you Susie, I know it.
Me: I can’t believe you would do this. I can’t believe Frank would go this far! You tell him…
She hung up.
It wasn’t near as exciting as some of the other “scamming the scammers” calls out there, like Kitboga who has the ability to send the scammers into a rage, but it sure was satisfying!
I immediately started making plans for when they called again. Would I be an Old Woman who is clueless? Would I be a drunk? A child who thinks the caller is mom or dad? The options are endless!
Can I figure out a way to record it, and be ready for when they called? I could post it on Crackbook and YouTube and give the world yet another chuckle over the comeuppance given to the worthless people who scam unsuspecting people like this.
They never called back. I guess they put me on their “Do Not Call” list.
I had been getting calls from the Car Warranty idiots every day. It was such an easy solution to get them to stop.
But they are not the only annoyances in our world. The media has set us up to be unwilling recipients of blasts meant to disempower us, manipulate us, shame and blame us, and generally make the world a less interesting place to live in.
Cell Phone Zombies
One of my favorite activities in life is people watching. I’ll go downtown or to the mall, or anywhere really, just to sit with my tea and watch people.
Families, couples, friends, and singles. I love watching them all. Pets. Security. Store employees. Maintenance staff. They are all interesting to me.
Taking the bus is highly entertaining, if sometimes dangerous.
Story Time: Once I was on a bus going to Capitol Hill from the University District in Seattle. There were about 6 of us on the bus, I was the back. Suddenly one of the other passengers, a woman, decided to go crazy. She marched up and down the aisle raising hell. She scared the daylights out of everyone. I pretended to read my book while closely watching was going on. Finally, the bus pulled over and the driver called the cops. The woman made it back to where I was sitting and sat down beside me. I showed her my book. She looked at it with interest and then jumped up and started raising hell again. The police finally came and took her away.
Before COVID-19, I often took the Light Link Rail in Seattle. Watching people as they waited has always been interesting to me. Do they talk to each other? Are they impatient? Do they check their watches? Are people checking each other out?
But slowly, things changed. I’d stand there in the station and look around. All the people would be heads down in their phones.
Same thing on the bus or waiting for the bus. Or in a line. Or in a restaurant or pub. Or just walking down the street. Standing at a corner. I’ve seen groups of friends sitting together, all on their phones.
I’m standing in a station looking at all the people, people with their heads down, and realize that none of these people are interesting anymore. They are merely passive consumers of media, whatever media they’re using.
Passive people are boring.
I often make jokes about it and some people find my jokes offensive. They ask me “What else are we supposed to do?” I ask “Why do you have to do anything? What’s wrong with being in the moment? Being open to whatever happens?”
I could never date a Cell Phone Zombie. I have no desire to compete with a device I can destroy with one hand.
I had one Capitol Hill Station friend. Brian and his greyhound, Peanut. Every day I was almost desperate to see them, so I could connect with someone, if only for a moment.
I look at all those people hunched over their phones and think “No wonder everyone is alone and can’t connect. No wonder we tend to be depressed. No wonder we are losing our way.”
If you want to become a Chiropractor, you’ll have many patients.
I got my first cell phone in the 90s. It’s 2020 and I’m still not sure I want one. I’m still trying to decide, even as I use it every day.
But one thing I’ll never be is a Cell Phone Zombie.
When cell phones first came out, I didn’t want to get one because I was afraid it would ring all the time. It’s a silly fear, at least at first, because I tend to be a loner. I don’t get calls like many other people.
I was also afraid of expectations. If I have a cell phone and I don’t answer it, for any reason, people might get offended and then we have to engage in some sort of drama.
My cell phone is for my benefit. It’s not so that I’m at the mercy of whoever calls. I’m not obliged to answer the phone, and I usually don’t, unless I know who it is.
I used to say, “If you want me to always answer the phone, you can pay for it!” But I’ve retracted that. Too many people have corporate phones, and they are required to answer it any time of the day. I’m in charge of my own phone and my own life.
Then, they opened up cell phones for telemarketing, fundraising and scammers. My phone rings every day now. Not only do I have to deal with the noise, I’m not a fan of noise, but if I answer, I have to field whatever it is they are trying to sell me.
I remember getting a call from one of the theaters in Seattle. They guy said to me, “Now, we appreciate your donations of $25, but this time we need $100.”
The dumbass actually told me what I was going to donate! Not only did I not donate, I quit donating to that theater altogether.
99% of the calls to my phone are people who want something from me, and they have learned many techniques to accomplish their goals.
I quit answering my phone.
The Deluge of Media
99% of my calls are from Telemarketers, Fundraisers and Scammers. They all want something from me.
I look at my Crackbook feed and what do I see? Ads for products. Meme’s meant to manipulate me into a certain opinion or an outburst of rage. Most of my friends are fundraising on their birthdays. My feed is full of stories and pictures meant to blame and shame.
Everyone wants something from me.
Story Time: There is someone I’d been slowly getting to know for and was hoping to morph them into an actual friend. She called and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. I said yes. She set the meeting place and we met. Unlike our last meeting, which was fun, I was treated to a series of weird behaviors. First, she was muttering under her breath about how I only had to walk 10 blocks to meet her. (It was actually 16 blocks vs. her 20 blocks, and it was her chosen meeting place, so this was ridiculous.)
Then she asked me if I wanted to go for dinner. I wasn’t planning on it, but I’m up for it if she is. Now she makes less than me so since she suggested it, I figured she was feeling flush enough to go. Otherwise I would have been happy to go home and make my own dinner like normal. We pick the place and sit down. She ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, moaning about prices, saying things about me making more than her and that I have extra. By this time, I’m looking at her like a researcher, with fascination. She slouches over at the table, making herself look smaller and victim-like. Still moaning. It became clear to me that this whole thing was a manipulation to make me buy her dinner. She didn’t want friendship from me.
Me asking her if she wants to go to dinner, and then offer to pay if she’s not flush is very different than me being manipulated into it. I didn’t appreciate it.
You can’t get away from it. Every ad, every social media post, signs in people’s yards telling me what they want me to believe. Rioters using domestic terrorism to get their way. People in groups using shame and blame to try and get me to follow their views. So-called friends trying to manipulate me.
And phone calls, so many phone calls. I dread the ring of my phone.
It’s overwhelming. It’s deafening. It’s a deluge.
And most of it is bullshit, put out there by ignorant people. Or put out there by those who get a rise out of hurting and manipulating others.
Why do I have to put up with it?
On Crackbook, I don’t put up with it anymore. I go right to a special group who’s goal it to make us laugh. I’m always willing to do that.
I don’t answer my phone.
Everyone wants something from me.
What do I want? I want peace.
And with the Car Warranty idiots putting me on the “Do Not Call” list, I got a small measure of it.