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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At the Sound of the Tone, It Will Be Time to Run, Screaming, Into the Streets

I’ve been trying to send a fax most of the day; 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, maybe by installing flat-screen TVs with round-the-clock CNN transmission or treadmills or something.

I may be exaggerating that last part.

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.

27 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
...ooorrr, your machine cops the wrath aimed elsewhere? I know. Poor old key-dancer here is much abused when the etherwebs are all tangled and uncooperative.

Like, what can a painted alphabet do about it, really? Hope they've gone through by the time you receive this message... 8-} YAM xx

Indigo Roth said...

Faxing? Did you slip through a temporal wormhole to the early Nineties?! Why, I oughta...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I have almost nothing nice to say about fax machines. Didn't Office Space handle one nicely in a final scene?

wellfedfred said...

Does America's Got Talent have a category for Asking Dumb Questions? I'd enter that one ( are you sure? in the division of Universal Answer to Simple Declarative Statement.

Daisy said...

The fax machine is extinct! Use email! The people who are offering to enlarge your penis are also depositing 10,000 $$ into your bank account.

Can we sue these folks for false advertising????

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Did they check their paper supply and toner???

Douglas said...

I was inundated with fax calls to my home number once. They came from a real estate agency. I called them and explained they were calling my voice number, that I had no fax machine, and I had no business with them. I gave them my number and they denied they were calling it. I read them the phone number of the calling fax machine and they agreed that it was theirs and they had been trying to send a fax but they blamed the phone company for not routing it properly. But, oddly, after I hung up, I got no more fax call attempts.

Shelly said...

Ah, the days of carbon paper, cassette recorders, phones with cords attached to the walls...old school we are.

I'll be out of town, but I'll check back into your posts when I get back next week. Hope your purty little tendons are on the mend!

Laoch of Chicago said...

I had to fax something recently (something I used to do multiple times per day a decade ago) and I realized I had completely forgotten how to do it.

It's funny, faxing seemed pretty miraculous when I was first exposed to it.

jenny_o said...

I'm at that awkward age, too. As a result I see computers alternately as miraculous or the devil's own handwork, depending. My kids, on the other hand, see computers as natural extensions of their brains.

Fax machines make me super-cautious as well. I so rarely use ours at work that one time the procedure changed and I didn't find out for six months.

Don't hurt your tendons while pounding your fists on the fax, please!

Simply Suthern said...

Who has it best?

Those that never had the electroninc gizmos and appreciated simplicity, those that lived through the transitition into the gizmo age and can appreciate them for what they do, or those that were born not knowing that there was a time without?

bill lisleman said...

didn't Pink Floyd have a hit song, Comfortably Faxed?
"there is no pain, you are receiving, the distant ships move on the horizon, you are only coming through in faxes."

Joanne Noragon said...

The copier did that to me this morning. Paper Jam it announced. Wrong. Put all together again, push the button. Paper Jam. On and on for several dismantelings and reassemblings. Apparently I hit the required number, or else the required number of curse words. It copied my puny sheet of paper.

Connie said...

Oh carbon paper and clicky clacky typewriters and those super thin paper Air Mail envelopes. How I miss that stuff. Thanks for stopping by. You're pretty sassy yourself!

Eva Gallant said...

Posts like this remind me how glad I am to be retired.

Jono said...

Faxing is so passe, but so am I. The one we have at work is often possessed by evil spirits of mimeographs past. It hates me.

sage said...

You still faxing? I may have to send a fax once a blue moon and I'm glad I can hand it to my adm assistant.

Gigi said...

My boss is constantly asking me to send faxes for him and giving me the wrong number. I have finally just started telling him that I'll scan it and he can email it. It still amazes him.

Roshni AaMom said...

tsk tsk! Take a photo of the pages with your smartphone and send it over! :P

Daisy said...

I hate fax machines too. I was glad when we got a scanner so I could scan it and email it instead.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Fax machines got on my nerves and was glad that we began to electronically transmit. The scanner became my best friend and I never had to get out of my seat.

Rose L said...

It is soooo frustrating when the FAX does not go through.

Pat Tillett said...

Oh Pearl! FAX is so dead! While they do still fax machines. Even printers made for the home can scan and send in one fell swoop.
It was still a funny post!

River said...

I'd be suggesting that she goes and does a visual check of her machine and its parts, then I'd post the pages via snail mail.

Dave King said...

I have no experience of fax machines. Having read your delightful post, I think I'll keep it that way!

Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh, I hate FAXING. Even worse is when someone tries to send a FAX to your phone. I lost the hearing in my right ear from that.

Then again, when I started working, we used TELEX.

tiffany rose said...

Why do we do that ... dragging a vacuum over the same stretch of uncooperative string on the carpet, over and over again?