My Back Pages

My old blogs from my pre theboblevin days are available at, should scholars or the FBI be interested. But from time-to-time, I will re-air one here. Here’s one from 2011, then called AT&T:

It’s been months since the demons of 21st century life have driven a blog from me. But they’ve struck, goddamnit, again.
Because I am phasing out of my law practice, I called AT&T to (a) reduce my services (and, hopefully, my bill) and (b) arrange installation of an extension with my office number in my home. I negotiated smoothly through the phone tree (“To insure customer satisfaction, your call may be recorded,” “If you… push 1,” “If you…push 2″) and reached a human being who helped me, lickety-split, with (a) but, initially, didn’t give me a snow ball’s shot at (b). “Is your home in the same zip code?” she inquired further. “No.” “How far away is it?” “A mile or two.” “That may work,” she said. “I’ll have a technical expert call you.”
The next day, a woman called from Houston to declare the extension impossible per se. “We do not place home extensions in offices,” she said. “Cool,” I said. “But I want an office extension in my home.” “Our records show 510-848-3818 is a home,” she said. “That very well may be,” I said, “but that is not my number; and if the woman who gave it to you made the changes in services I requested upon it, you may have two dissatisfied customers complaining to the FCC, not one.” I gave her my correct number. “Oh, that’s a business listing,” she said. “Your extension can be arranged. Let me connect you with a technician.” After two rings, I was back in the phone tree, being warned about recordings, being provided numbers to choose. This time I ended up out on a limb with a young man who had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. When I explained, he expressed doubt that I could have my extension. “Never mind,” I said. “I’ll call this woman I just spoke to.” I dialed the number she had provided – and was back barking up the same sycamore. This time I reached “Melissa.” “I really hope this call is being recorded,” I said, “so just how dissatisfied I am can be appreciated.” I then recounted what I’d been through, letting dissatisfaction seep venomously into every syllable. When I had concluded, she said, “That extension should be no problem. I’ll put you on hold for just one minute.” After having waited through inexorable semi-classic semi-music for eleven, I hung up and went home.
At this point, I know I am expected to express the life lesson to be drawn from this experience. I am at a loss as to what that might be, except: Swear a lot; slam down your receiver frequently; threaten congressional action. And never forget, they may not be worth fuckall as a phone company, but they run a hellova ballpark, with terrific garlic fries.