Clicking Over

The rudeness of call waiting...

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: September 21, 2004

Clicking Over

We have call waiting at the house and my wife and I have an ongoing dialogue about it. She always clicks; I am a devout non-clicker. The grown up scion all have their own cell phones, walk around with ear pieces, and holler at their homies because we have phat family time, anytime minutes.

I have no idea how the minutes, the roaming, the free time works. All I know if the bill is too high we turn off everybody?s phone and hand them a fistful of quarters.

My philosophy on call waiting is simple: if I am talking to someone, it is rude to take an incoming call, hoping that the interrupter is someone more interesting to talk to. I let the phone beep and make them leave a message, and then I won?t call them back. Sometimes I star 69, but that costs 75 cents.

Her philosophy is, ?What if it?s an emergency and one of the kids needs to get a hold of us?? I figure that is why you have a personal cell phone and why we have an answering machine.

The whole thing can be quite Shakespearean in its interpersonal ramifications; To click over or not to click over that is the question, whether it is nobler to stay interested in the conversation at hand, or dump the dork your jawing with, in the hopes of scoring a conversation of material value, or then take arms against your spouse because she wants you to defrost a chicken?

I?m a low tech old school kind of guy in a high tech world and only quite recently have been issued my own cell phone that I have yet to use. This to me seems redundant since I work at home. The philosophy here being, when I?m on the road they can contact me, it was only $9.99 a line, and we have a business so we can write it off.

We have On-Star satellite tracking system in our SUV, but haven?t paid the sixteen bucks a month, to have Mr.Spock unlock my truck from Mars. Why should I? I quit drinking many years ago, in fact, the non-drinking has afforded me the opportunity to buy such an ostentatious vehicle, but I digress.

My telecommications policy is, and I think everybody should have one, instead of click hold dissin' your bored brothers and sisters, is, if I want to talk to somebody I?ll call them. If someone wants to talk to me they can email.

Ok, it is personal too. I hate it when I?m taking to somebody and they put me on hold because they have an incoming call. If they spend more than a few seconds talking to the other party, I get heated for two reasons; One, I am almost sure that someone more interesting is calling in, and two, I forget what I was talking about?

There is another problem. I must confess that I have earnestly tried to click over on several occasions, unfortunately most of the time we receive a call, and I don?t have my reading glasses on hand. I have hung up, cut off, and left on hold several hundred people.

Once, the phone clicked and it was my Brother. I was talking to a telemarketer who promised to send us to Disneyland or Denmark if we bought some magazines. My Brother, who is a really interesting guy, and I talked for about 45 minutes, about 35 minutes into the conversation heard a noise on the line. Apparently, the telemarketer hung on for 35 minutes waiting for me to click back. We laughed so hard about it, as only siblings can. We try to call each other during peak telemarketing times, especially when the fed lowered the interest rate, and re-fi mania hits a fever pitch.

Other attempts in clicking over has caused me to speed dial order Pizzas, Chinese food, and calling my wife at work, forcing myself to come up with a reason for the call, masking my inability to click over successfully. This has cost me several hundred dollars in impromptu dinner dates, just so I didn?t have to admit that I tried to click over without my glasses on again.

We live in a world where everybody seems to have their own phone number, we are always talking but noting of substance is really said. Real communication is eye to eye, person to person, not speakerphone to headset.

If you can?t look into their eyes you don?t know if they are lying.

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is listed in the Yellow Pages.

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