Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jimmie Johnson, Twitter, Voice Mails, High Def and Me

"Your voice mail box is full!" my cell phone assistant announces pertly. "Please remove old messages so you may receive new messages!"

Oh, God. I don't want to listen to old messages. The nicest thing about old messages is that they prevent new messages from coming in. This would be on my work cell phone. I know every one of these voices will be from someone who needs my help. They will be panicky, sad, anxious, stressed, frightened or angry. They were served with papers from the court or their court date is drawing near. Their husband wants a divorce. They lost custody of their kids. They need to file for guardianship of their increasingly senile parent. Their landlord has given them an eviction notice.

Now and then, my voice mail will contain a message from an attorney agreeing to take a case pro bono but that doesn't happen nearly enough to meet the demand.

By contrast, I rarely have voice mails on my cell phone....because I have given a total of three people that number. I got a personal cell phone for two reasons:  a) in case of an emergency on the road and b) because I can follow the NASCAR races on it (it is a Sprint phone, sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series).

I was, therefore, surprised the last time I looked to notice that I had several voice mails on my cell phone. It took me a while to retrieve them because I couldn't remember my password. By the time I did, the voice mails had grown to 7. I listened only to discover that all them came from the same source: someone named John in the correctional facility in Blackford County, Indiana. (Thankfully, I knew it couldn't be my son John since he lives in Florida). The person on the other end sounded progressively more desperate (a lot like the voices on my work cell).

I couldn't let John go on believing that whoever he was calling was simply ignoring his plight so with a sigh, I put my cell phone on my desk and the next time it vibrated, I answered. I told John that he must have the wrong number because I was sure I didn't know anyone incarcerated in Blackford County. He thanked me sadly for letting him know the situation. I haven't had a voice mail (or a phone call) on that phone since.

You probably think since I'm such a Neanderthal about cell phones that I don't have a Twitter account but you'd be wrong. Once my NASCAR driver, Jimmie Johnson, started Tweeting I had no choice but to sign up. As with the cell phones, I engage with Twitter on a very limited basis. I "follow" 6 people, all having to do with NASCAR but, really, only Jimmie actually matters. (My Twitter goal is to someday Tweet Jimmie and get an answering Tweet in return - fat chance when I'm only one of his tens of thousands of followers). Jimmie gives away lots of prizes via Twitter but I don't check in religiously enough to ever get in on any of them.

I think I even have a few followers myself on @vdeputy but I don't have a clue why that would be.

And lastly, to make the gap between me and the brave, new world of electronics complete there is my new high definition television set. (I'm retiring in August and decided I should buy any high ticket items before my income is reduced so I purchased new glasses and the t.v.)

I'm ashamed to admit that I can't tell any difference between high definition and low definition and my reflexes have evidently slowed, because I usually don't react quick enough to press o.k. when the message pops up that I can watch in high definition before it disappears again.

"Can you tell when it's on high definition, Mom?" (She's 92).

"No, can you?"

"No." (I'm 65).

So I leave it as it is - which is about as ignored as my cell phone voice mails and my Tweets.