I tried to call someone I knew at an office, where I knew he was, just sitting there and waiting for some one to get through to him and call him to say hello.

I dialed the number that was on the brochure and Lord of all Lords, a mechanical voice answered. If you wish to speak to someone please dial the extension number now, I was instructed. What extension number, pray tell? It went on to explain that if I didn’t know his extension, that I was to spell out his last name out using the numbers on the telephone. With great patience, I spelled out his name, only to be interrupted by another mechanical voice saying that there was no one there by that name. What? Did he get fired, am I dialing the right name, can it be that I don’t know how to spell his name numerically. Are there any real people working there?

Whoever invented this so-called time saving device, must have his name in the black book of life somewhere, because when he dies and goes to hell, I will personally suffer purgatory and break every law in the land to chase him (or her) down in Hell and torture him myself! How can one person (or devious company) ever think of the ultimate torture device such as the automated telephone answering system? I have a hard enough time checking my bank balance from a payphone, and trying to contact a real person and saying your piece of mind is hard enough, with out having to go through a barrage of useless questions. I mean, why would a machine ask you if you wish to talk to someone? Of course I do, that why I called in the first place! Give me a receptionist to put me on hold any day! I can suffer listening to elevator music and hear the good old tunes of 1999.

Yes, Muzak was invented to sooth the beast in the irate phone caller, and to sublimely introduce shoppers to the latest in fashion, without you even knowing it. Muzak sure beats the hell out of trying to deal with a mechanical voice that tells you to dial another number, again, or to listen to the list of options all over again. What, I can hear the message in Mandarin, where am I? In outer Mongolia? Just where did I call, any ways?

I’ll even settle to leave a voice message on someone’s machine, fully knowing that they are probably smoking cigarettes outside, at least I got through to his answering device. Perhaps one day, when all band offices do away with their pretty receptionists and come up with another way to deal with irate band members, who just want their cheque or whatever, will I throw down my glove to technology and say enough is enough. I’m going back to the day when writing letters were just as good as faxing or e-mail.

Speaking of communications, the day when satellite television is fully integrated with computers and telephone or voice over and affordable to boot, will I be able to converse with my friends again face to face in front of a web cam. I can’t wait until Ma Bell smartens up and really bring good communications to the North, where we now suffer speeds of 600 bit per second, I repeat, 600 bit per second. Hey, that’s OK if you’re a multi millionaire with money and time to burn, but, 600 bit per second? That is not even 1 kps. Just when is Creetel coming out with blazing hyper-speeds delivered over a fiber optic network spanning all nine Cree communities ever going to come true? I hope before my computer becomes old and aged, because right now, 600 bps just doesn’t jive for me. I know that Bill Gates will probably buy out Creetel if they ever get off the ground and into action for a measly ten million or so and call the new network CreeSN. Perhaps one day, when we wake up out of our slumber which we call Progress (regress sometimes), will we ever play catch up to the rest of the world.

Slowly signing off, I remain (for a few more minutes)…