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Monday, December 27, 2010

At The Sound of the Beep, It Will Be Time to Reassess Your Choice in Careers

I’ve been trying to send a fax most of the morning; and like someone dragging a vacuum over the same stretch of uncooperative string on the carpet convinced that, eventually, the string will be sucked up, I return the same three sheets of paper to the fax machine thinking that this will be the time...

Some call it persistent. Others call it job security. I prefer to think of it as “paid by the hour”.

I’ve called the company to whom I’m faxing twice now.

“Your fax machine isn’t picking up.”

“Are you sure?”

Am I sure? What, do I look like someone appearing before a Grand Jury to you? Of course, I’m sure! I put the sheets in, I dial the number provided, the machine emits a high-pitched busy signal for a length of time just short of that necessary to drive one deaf, and then it spits out a sheet of paper that says “No answer – zero pages transmitted”.

I’m sure already!

And then I do it again.

Ack. I miss the mail.

I miss the tangibility of the mail.

I’m at that awkward age, you know. Sure I’ve been an unwitting tool in the computers’ take-over of the world, but I also have indistinct memories of using carbon paper to make duplicate copies on the typewriter, of weeping after typing a full page of a business letter only to finish it with a slip-up: Yous Truly…

Remember when the mail came? You opened it, sorted it into various piles, ransacked it for free pens or calendars, tossed the junk and proceeded from there.

Not so now. Now the “mail” comes in all day long. Never a wasted moment here! My e-mail is trying to get me to enlarge my penis, the fax machine has become an audible Rorschach test designed to measure my stamina and I believe there are plans to make the bathrooms more cost-efficient and profit-generating, maybe by installing flat-screen TVs with round-the-clock CNN transmission or something.

I may be exaggerating that last part. Then again, it wouldn't surprise me.

I’m going to now attempt, as I have all day, to fax three sheets of paper. The company on the receiving end assures me that their machine is up and running.

I can do nothing but trust that they are right this time.

Because if they’re not? And it doesn’t go through yet again?

Sigh.

I’ll be forced to do re-dial until it does.

35 comments:

Ponita in Real Life said...

Sometimes technology is the bane of our existence!

I too recall carbon copies. But I also typed on a Selectric correcting typewriter at my first job. w00t! It had a correction ribbon but you'd better be proof reading each lines cuz going back up the page to make a correction didn't always look so neat and tidy.

Tom G. said...

I think it was over a year ago when I walked into a Men's Room and saw the first flat panel TV playing advertisements on the wall above the urinal. That my friends is a captive audience.

The print ads on the urinal wall have been around for years. My favorite is the one at the hockey rink for a Law Office. It reads "Stop Crying in your Beer. Divorce / Custody / We've got your back. Lawyersfordad.com"

Makes me teary eyed just thinking about it.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Fax machines, when they are malfunctioning, are a pain. However, I am bamboozled by how they work so when they Do go through successfully the first time (which is most of the time) I am amazed.

(I thought I was the only one who vacuumed over and over, trying to get a little piece of string. Alas, I guess I am not as "special" as I thought!)

Dazee Dreamer said...

The only thing worse than a fax machine not picking up, is the people that are "faxing" to your regular work number. Nothing like a high pitched fax tone in your ear while answering the phone.

ellen abbott said...

I hate fax machines and just don't use them. Email forever! Scan it, attach it, send it.

Gigi said...

The memories you've evoked, Pearl. I can remember my first job when the office got a computer. One huge computer for the entire office - that no one was quite sure what to do with. And it came with a dot matrix printer.

I agree with Ellen - scan that sucker and email it. At least that way if it bounces back it doesn't come with that high pitched squeal.

Oilfield Trash said...

Oh that sucks. THat is when I call and cuss their asses.

haphazardlife said...

I've started simply scanning whatever into pdf and emailing it. Faxes are prehistoric and annoying. And yeah, I remember the first fax we got in an office, with that thermal paper that would fade out. We thought that stupid machine was the greatest thing since sliced bread...

Hilary said...

I think you're trying to send your fax to me. I've been getting several calls which when answered are attempted faxes. I'm hearing that beeeeeep day and night. I do not have a fax machine.

Please stop that or I'll have to withdraw my offer to enlarge your penis.

Leenie said...

Just keep telling yourself, "It all pays the same. It all pays the same."

Yous Truly,
Another Office Rat

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Hourly pay is a good thing.

In LA, they have little tv screens at gas pumps. Your concpt is likely next on the list.

xoRobyn

Jeanne said...

Free calendars seem to have gone the way of the dodo. It used to be you didn't have enough places to hang them. This year, I didn't receive a single one.

Georgina Dollface said...

Hey! You've written a book! Congratulations. Can you please fax me a copy? My number is 1 (8oo)STK-IN92. - G

Grant said...

Fax machines are so 2008. Tell them you don't do business with anyone who can't handle an e-mail attachment.

Pat Tillett said...

I'm sorry to say that this is part of our evolution as a species... I hate faxing for no other reason than the totally annoying noise! Couldn't they come up with something a bit more pleasant?

Bossy Betty said...

I have never had a satisfying experience with a fax machine. Never. No, really. NEVER.

Oh, no. Now I am upset. Must apply candy.

Karen said...

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...that Albert Einstein guy must've had a FAX machine too.

Willoughby said...

It's been ages since I used a fax machine, but I not so fondly remember doing so. I used to fax lengthy legal documents and inevitably, a third of the pages would print out looking stretched and illegible and have to be refaxed.

Douglas said...

One day, on a late Friday afternoon, our house phone rang. I picked it up (as I am often wont to do when it rings), said "hello" (because that is what you do when you answer a phone) and got the FAX beep in my only good ear. I hung it up. It rang again another minute later. I picked it up and got yet another FAX beep. I then noted the Caller ID and found it to be a realty office in Lake Placid (Florida, not New York). I stated (loudly) "This is a private residence, not a FAX machine"... because some modern FAX machines recognize voice and hang up. This one was apparently an older model. I hung up. It rang again a minute later. I called the realty office. No one was there. "Fine," I thought, "They queued a FAX and left the office for the weekend." Nice people. I took three more calls and then called the phone company. I asked them to block the calls from the realty office number to my number or disable the FAX line. They can do either or both, trust me. They refused to do either. I insisted. They refused again. I told her, after getting the woman's name, if I cannot dial out in an emergency, I will sue the phone company for refusing to keep my line clear. The calls stopped. Until Monday when they started again. This time someone was in the realty office. They first denied they were dialing my number. In fact, they insisted they weren't. I asked them if they thought I was lying about the FAX calls and the caller ID. I insisted on speaking to whoever managed the office. He (the manager) said it must be the phone company's fault. I told him I did not care but that if he did not stop the calling, I would come down there and turn off the FAX machine for good. The calls stopped.

Now, if I could just get people to stop calling the business that used to own my phone number...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I hate faxing because I'm deathly afraid that I'm sending sensitive information to the wrong person. Aarrgghh.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

friggin' fax machines. nothing more to say.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Alright, settle down Pearly Girly. Look on the bright side - it sure would have been a short post if the fax had WORKED - right?

Hey there...just letting you know, I faxed three sheets of paper this morning. (awkward pause...)
Um...so, there ya go. Comment away.

Bahahaha!
=]

Linda Myers said...

When I started using a Selectric, it was wonderful! In high school I learned to type on a MANUAL typewriter. Then an ELECTRIC in college.

Fortunately, keyboards haven't changed, so my 60s training still works.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! A Fax machine?! Good grief, what is this, the Dark Ages? What kind of 80s-timewarp retro-fetishists are you working for?! Have they not heard of e-mail? Instant, trackable, versatile, and from your desk? Find someone senior and tell them it will save them a couple of bucks to rethink their process and watch them scramble for glory! ;> Love, Roth x

Tracy said...

UGH!!! I hate technology sometime...can't live with it and can't live without it; they have us!

mrwriteon said...

Remember when they told us that technology would end the paper chase? Those were the same people who told us that technology would diminish time needed on the job and a huge leisure class would grow in society. I think those were the same people that confused Al Gore with an environmentalist.

Susan said...

Just enlarge your penis already.

Lisa said...

Ha! I was just telling my son about my first office job. The fax machine was a new thing, we used a Telex to communicate overseas, the computer was simply a word processor, I still used the IBM Selectric as much or more than I did the computer and people still smoked at their desks.

That was a lifetime ago, wasn't it?

My son thinks I'm making it up.

Cheeseboy said...

I've often wondered why those penis enlargement companies primarily use email as their primary mode of advertisement. I think it is because they have done studies and the more often a man checks his email, the smaller his penis is likely to be.

I'm with you. I need the world to slow down for a minute. I miss the taste of that glue on envelopes.

C. Andres Alderete said...

What's a "fax machine"?
Congrats on your book btw. Quite the accomplishment.

gayle said...

I hate all this new technology and now I'm reading in the comments that faxing is out. Hey, I barely just started figuring out how to do it. Wonder what 10 years will bring:0

Symdaddy said...

Oh dear!

A fax machine?

Is your company still in the Stone Age?

I feel for you Pearly-girlie, I really do!

Roses said...

In my lowly admin job, I'm often heard to say 'I have two degrees, I'm not trained in fax machine/photocopier/scanner.'

I always ask first if it's idiot-proof and they never are. Bloody things.

Jhon Baker said...

Paid by the hour? this is the only thing that makes the futility of the fax seem more tolerable. I have purposely wrecked them in the past and now just refuse to hook up the one I have.

HumorSmith said...

Remember that time I faxed you that picture of my ass? And then....oh wait. Um, did you ever receive it? No wonder my church excommunicated me. And they were pagans.