Saturday, April 16, 2011

You ever feel like

Your whole life is just that moment when you're trying to leave a voicemail, and you hear I'll record your message at the tone. When you are finished, you may hang up, or press "pound" for further options. To send a fax, press-- and you're like, OK, fuck this. You press "1" to get straight to the beep.

But the voicemail woman cuts you off, and suddenly her tone is somehow much smarmier. I'm sorry: "1" is not a valid option. I'll record your message at the tone. When you are finished, you may hang up... and it goes again, from the beginning, through this whole long litany of options you have, such as somehow implausibly sending a fax to someone's mobile phone. Because unbeknownst to you this is one of the approximately 40% of phones where pressing "1" will not get you straight to the beep. Instead it will trigger a stern-sounding non-apology from this woman, where the voice actress completely nails the tone of someone ostensibly apologizing to you for some inconvenience, but who in her heart is only sorry that you are too retarded to know that pressing "1" will avail you of nothing. It will only force her to patiently repeat the many options she has already taken the trouble to lay out for you very clearly and now has to waste her precious time explaining again.

So she goes through the whole list of things you can do, the only one of which anyone would ever have any interest in doing is simply leaving a message and hanging up, and finally you are ready to recite your carefully prepared words. Perhaps it is for a young lady you have only emailed with off of OKCupid and you are understandably a little nervous. And you're ready for the beep. But when she finishes talking-- no fucking beep. There's just this infinite-feeling cavern of silent nothingness while the phone company ticks over four seconds worth of peak use minutes. Just the bare scratching of static, barely audible, like a faraway wind blowing somewhere over the future site of your forgotten, unvisited grave. And THEN there's the fucking beep.

My whole life, sometimes, feels like those four seconds. Chastised by some corporate shrew and then left to contemplate the nothingness of death before vainly trying to sound cool to some girl who it's going to go nowhere with anyway.

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