Artist In Residence Quarantine Diaries, Extra! Edition!: Please forgive the intrusion but… hello???

Okay, so here’s a saga.
When we first moved to this place, into our house, there were a couple of things we did immediately – we hooked up power, we hooked up water, we set up garbage collection… we set up a phone line.
We got a phone number.
This was now seventeen and a half years ago.
This phone number has survived switching phone providers. With this phone number, we have weathered my husband’s stroke, my father’s illness and death, my mother’s fragile health,my own surgery. It’s the emergency contact for my mother (and a phone number she knows by heart, if she ever needs it). It’s the phone on record with… with EVERYBODY, from our medical providers to our website host company to our freaking PIZZA DELIVERY PLACE and it’s been the same number for those entire senventeen and a half years.

Just recently Mom said she tried to call me, and she got a message that “the phone number doesn’t exist, or something”. That was… weird. But the phone company we’re with doesn’t seem to have heard of an engaged signal. If you ring and the phone is already in use you will not get a busy signal you will get someone telling you that the phone number is no longer in service. This is annoying, but it comes and goes. I thought this would go, too.
Today I tried phoning home from a shop to ask my husband if he needed anything while I was there (it wasn’t a strictly planned visit, and I figured if I could nail down anything he might want me to go to the store for afterwards… well maybe I could avoid a second trip.)
And *I* got a message that the phone number did not exist.
Okay, this was weird.
I got back home, and I called my phone provider – ON my landline phone, the very one that “didn’t exist”. The call went through fine and I jumped throught the hoops to validate my account and all that and I said I seem to have a problem because I am no longer able to receive phone calls.
The chirpy little perrson on the other end of the line said, “we’re talking about [phone number *** *** ****, right?”
And I said, “What?”
That wasn’t my phone number. Nothing in it matched.
she said, “that’s the phone number on record for this account; it’s been that since almost a year ago; that’s the phone number you’re calling from”
I said, “I BEG TO DIFFER.”
We got disconnected.
I got her again – she reinitiated the call, to the WRONG PHONE NUMBER – and by this stage I was in just a cold fury. I did NOT authorise anyone to unilaterally change my phone number for any reason, I was not asked for permission, and I WAS NOT EVEN INFORMED.
Chirpy Girl said, “but that’s the phone number now – the other one would have been assigned to someone else.”
Well, no, it wasn’t – because if it had been then I would have got through to THAT person and not the “this number doesn’t exist” message. I said I wanted my phone number back, please, the one I originally had. She said, it’s not in our system any more. I said, I don’t care what rock you’ve put it under. FIND IT and give it back to me, right now. EVEN if you gave it to someone else I’ve had it for nearly eighteen years and I have bloody DIBS on it. She said, but this “new” number has been your phone number for nearly a year. Well THAT isn’t true because my mom was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes and then home care which contacted me as a primary contact from January to March THIS year (considerably less than “A year” ago) and THIS was the phone number I received many phone calls on, my old number, the number I gave to all these providers because, you know, *it was my phone number*.
I want it back.
We can’t do that, she said.
We got disconnected again.
I called back and got someone different. This person had it all unloaded on her and said, hold ON, ma’am. I’ll fix it.
Apparently they ‘found’ my number. They reinstated it. Apparently when I made some changes to my cable line up (my phone is a tv+internet+phone bundle – and yes, you KNOW the company… it starts with a C…) they “rushed it through” and somehow… changed my phone number. I kept paying the bills because really do YOU double check every time that the same number – which has been there for nearly twenty years – is still on your paperwork when you had no reason to suspect that it would not be?
It took nearly two hours, four phone calls, two different agents telling me different things… but all of a sudden apparently they found the ‘lost’ number somewhere and put it back. I had my mom call me on it and apparently she managed to get through but now I have to phone at least one doctor who said he’d call back to reschedule her appointment (I’m her contact) and god knows if he found himself facing this particular little doozy. For that matter I have no idea who else might have tried to contact me and couldn’t because – they – unilaterally and apparently accidentally – CHANGED MY PHONE NUMBER WITHOUT TELLING ME.
I’m still simmering. I have half a mind to write to the Better Business Bureau or something.
Seriously, when did good service fly out of the window like a bluebird of happiness and vanish into the distant horizon? What kind of set up allows this kind of catastrophe – without three comebacks to the client asking are you sure about this, did you ASK for this number change, was this you? When I try to log onto TWITTER from a different device it pings me that there was a “new login”- but they could just change my number, potentially throw my life into the crapper, without even notifying me… and I pretty much had it off the agent that they “rushed through” my changes and this just slipped through somehow – was there no red warning light on this somewhere?
Why did I have to find out like this? How long was I incommunicado?
I’m just coldly FURIOUS. *FURIOUS*.
I need a drink.
Also, would someone please phone me? Just to confirm I exist?



Artist In Residence Quarantine Diaries, Extra! Edition!: Please forgive the intrusion but… hello??? — 1 Comment

  1. A mutual friend had a rodent chew through his internet cable at the junction box. Wonky internet for months. Service people came out every week and said it was because the area was “between” things.

    Finally, under threat of lawsuit someone checked the box out by the street, found the wire and called in “Why didn’t an alarm go off in the office?” “Oh that blinking red light thing? We turned it off because it was annoying.”

    le sigh.

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