RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

“Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory” the robotic voice of the automated answering system at Titan Industries politely instructed me. 

Neville Carter” I replied. For some reason I always felt silly talking to robo machines. 

“Devil Carter. One moment please.” 

Before I could repeat the correct name I heard a click and the on-hold background music started – a dramatic instrumental arrangement of Climb Every Mountain. About two minutes later the music stopped. 

Click.

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Devil Carter. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

I cleared my throat. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that. Say the same of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

NEVILLE CARTER” I annunciated as clearly as possible.

“One moment while I try that party.” 

Click. Classical music.

Ok” I said to myself. “Hopefully we’ll get it right this time.” 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Neville Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

CARTER. NOT CARVER” I said slowly and loudly. I was getting impatient. 

“One moment please. 

Click. Jazz music. 

“I’m sorry. There is no listing for a Carter Not Carver. Say the name of the party you are trying to reach. If you know your party’s extension you may dial it directly. Press the pound sign at any time to hear a listing of the company directory.” 

“What the freaking hell! This is ridiculous!” I bellowed into the phone, all the while hearing the same monotonous speech in the background. In complete exasperation I hung up. Then I had an idea: if I call back and press “O” for operator I might actually get a real live person. 

Here goes nothing” I thought as I dialed the number. One ring, two rings. 

Upon connecting I immediately pushed “O” while gleefully shouting “Take that, you robotic bitch!” 

Then I heard the most beautiful words ever – “Titan Industries. How may I help you?”  

“Neville Carter, please” I requested. 

“Right away, sir.” 

One ring. Two. Three. I started feeling nervous. Finally my call was answered: “You have reached the office of Neville Carter. Your call is very important to us. We are experiencing extremely high caller volume. You are currently caller number 17. Your wait time is approximately 90 minutes. You may continue to wait or call back at a more convenient time.” 

Click. Country music. 

Damn insufferable machines! I decided to go to Titan Industries in person. I stowed my dog eared copy of How To Make Friends and Influence People into my backpack and headed for the train. 

Finding a seat, I took out my beloved book. The train started then stopped. The lights went out and a recorded message crackled through the speakers: 

“Attention passengers. Due to mechanical difficulties all service is indefinitely delayed. We apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.” 

“WONDERFUL!! JUST FUCKING BLOODY WONDERFUL!!” I screamed into the darkness. 

NAR © 2020

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