Answer the phone

Copyright: iuriiau / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: iuriiau / 123RF Stock Photo

At home I’ve more or less stopped answering the phone.  If Nigel is in he will answer it.  If he’s out we’ve agreed it’s probably better if I let it ring.  The chances of it being someone phoning me via Next Generation Text are infinitesimally low.  The times Nigel has had to come home and solve the mystery of a muddled conversation in which I have completely misunderstood the caller (indeed sometimes misunderstood who the caller IS) are many.  It wasn’t worth it.  Let it go.  It’s a shame the Tesco delivery man can’t ring to say he’s held up, but life goes on.

However, the other late afternoon the phone rang.  It was dark, raining and I had been starting to fret about Nigel’s absence with our dog Izzy.  They’d gone out in the car to a favourite dog walking spot, a local reservoir, and they’d normally be home by now.  My worry was caused by the fact that Izzy has what is known in dog circles as a dodgy recall.  Actually, if you call her she will come bounding back with endearing enthusiasm, delighted to see you, but sometimes only after she has finished doing what SHE wants to do, which can take some time.  We go for months and months with nothing like this happening, feeling quietly confident that she has finally outgrown her adolescent contrariness (she’s five and a half) but then that stubborn streak makes an appearance again.  We’d had a couple of wayward absences recently, so I was worried.

So I picked up the phone.

“Love, it’s me, can you hear me?  I’ve got a crisis”.

My heart sank to subterranean depths.  Izzy lost in the dark, on the edge of the moors, really is a crisis.

“Yes, I can hear, what’s happened?”  I can understand Nigel on the phone better than anyone.  Firstly because I know his voice so well and secondly because he knows, on the phone, to keep extraneous words to a minimum and stick to the point.

“I’ve lost my car keys”.

I cheered up.  Not such a crisis at all.  He told me where his spare keys were and I said

“No problem, I’ll meet you at the reservoir car park.  I’ll set off now”.

“No…..not there….meet me at the corner of the main road and Brackenley Lane.”  Very perplexed (that’s about a mile away from the reservoir, where his car presumably still was) I said

“What are you doing there?”

“It’s a long story, just pick me up”.  As I said, he knows there is no point trying to tell me a convoluted story over the phone…….

So I picked them up and all was well.  But it was indeed a convoluted tale and we amused ourselves later imagining what Izzy would have made of it all, so I’ll let her tell it, with my explanations (where it’s not obvious) in italics.

sam_3557-6“Izzy speaking.  Nigel and I went to the reservoir and I had a wonderful time.  I ran and ran.  Then we got back to the car park but we didn’t get in the car, which was odd.  Nigel seemed to be looking for something, then we set off round the reservoir again.  I wasn’t at all keen on that (I was tired) but off we went.  (Nigel retracing his steps to look for the keys).  Eventually got back to the car park again.  Still didn’t get in the car.

Instead we set off down the hill to the village.  Very, very odd.  (Nigel didn’t have his mobile with him.  To be fair, there probably wouldn’t have been a signal anyway, this being rural Yorkshire.  So they set off on foot to the nearby village, about three quarters of a mile away, where he knows a couple of people).  We go to a house.  No-one in.  We go to another house.  Nigel talked to a very nice man and used his telephone.  (At the second attempt at knocking on doors in the dark he finds someone in, who is surprised to see a bedraggled Nigel plus dog on the doorstep).  Then we went and stood on a street corner.  (Much more sensible than walking back up the hill to the reservoir).  Very, very, very odd and I wanted my supper.  Stood there for HOURS doing NOTHING in the RAIN (fifteen minutes). Then a car pulled up and it was VERA.  What was SHE doing there?  Then we all got in Vera’s car and went back to the reservoir.  Then Nigel got out and Vera left him there!  Then Vera and I went home.  Then we all got home and I had my biscuits, which was a relief.  What was all THAT about?”

She might well ask.

The funny thing (is it funny?) is that, back at the car park, Nigel found the car keys on the windscreen of the car.  Someone had obviously found them on the ground, seen the make of car on the key fob and, very kindly, picked them up and left them where they would be found……..

You are now saying, those of you who are still with me after plodding through this tortuous tale, but surely this is nothing to do with hearing loss?  You’d be right.

Except.  What if I hadn’t answered the phone?


14 thoughts on “Answer the phone

  1. I have just discovered your blog ….. I love it!! There is so much that resonates with me and that is reassuring. I am not the only person in this world who has severe hearing loss and sometimes struggles with what that means on a day-to-day basis. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Jennifer. Writing the blog had really helped me to realise I’m not alone in this too. Of course, I always knew I wasn’t, but it’s wonderful to hear from people with similar experiences.

  2. Hello Vera. I have just discovered your blog and I love it! It rings so many bells, especially the last one. I too am a deaf telephone answering refusenik, with a key losing husband and a dodgy recall dog – though I have never actually had to go and rescue them!
    We used to have a landline phone with caller display. I very seldom answered it in spite of this, but if I recognised the number then at least I could tell if it was likely to be an emergency or just a cold caller! Now we both use our separate smart phones (me to text and my husband to answer calls). The landline languishes unused!
    Looking forward to your next adventure!

  3. Hi Vera & followers
    Re: getting a new mobile phone – having spent most of my career in the communications industry I have a reasonable knowledge about the steps you need to take. And the very first – definitely before you buy a new phone – is to check which operator gives the best signal in your area. For example, we live in a mobile “not-spot” on Vodafone’s network but get a good signal from O2 and also EE.

    Probably the best place to get a good overview (and it should only take 10 minutes or so to read up) is who, for instance, published a useful article (last updated May 2016) on “Best mobile network coverage in the UK”. Alternatively if you are a member of Which they have produced a Mobile phone coverage map using a company called OpenSignal and mobile phone customers’ feedback.

    Only once you have worked out which operator offers the best coverage in your area should you contemplate buying a new phone. For anyone who doesn’t already know, you can check which of the main four mobile phone companies offer the best signal for you. Unfortunately you do have to plug your postcode in to each of the four different operators’ websites independently which is a bit of a bind but worthwhile as it gives the most accurate responses. Incidentally all the other mobile offerings will be based on one of these four e.g. Tesco Mobile & GiffGaff use O2’s network, while Talkmobile uses Vodafone’s.

    Search for coverage checkers on each of the operators’ websites below (merger of Orange & TMobile)

    Next question – which G(eneration)?
    2G – Basic second generation mobile network, allowing you to send text messages (this should suit anyone who has a basic/non-smart phone)
    3G – Third generation mobile phone technology, which allows for better coverage for voice calls as well as faster access to the internet. 3G is pretty perfect for light browsing, e.g. tweeting and checking Facebook. (this is the minimum for smart phones)
    4G Fourth generation mobile phone technology, which is five times faster than 3G. (this is currently in the process of being rolled out by various operators)
    5G – is the similar mobile equivalent to fibre broadband at home. Unless you want to watch videos on your mobile device (usually a tablet) don’t worry about this.

    Now “all” you have to do is decide which phone you want 🙂

    Hope this helps.

    1. Which is quite dispiriting I find…..
      Have you read the post (my very first one – called “Ring Ring”) about the Next Generation Text Service? I like that a lot for phone calls out, although I haven’t cracked the problem of people using it to phone me.

  4. Thank you for your blog. Vera. I especially enjoyed this one 🙂 I am just beginning my hearing loss journey (hearing aids with an app that no longer works since the latest IOS upgrade. $4,000! Grrrr.) and your experiences, work-arounds & humor give me heart. I wish you were my next-door neighbor!

  5. It’s really quite cheering to hear what is going on in your life, because so much of it parallels mine. My telephone experience begins with my not being able to hear my mobile ring. I can feel it vibrate, but that’s all. Actually I could do with a new phone. Mine is an ancient Nokia, almost steam-driven. But when I went into Carphone Warehouse and asked if they would demonstrate the ring tones, the answer was ‘no’ because the phones all come wrapped up in boxes. Since there was no point in having another phone I can’t hear, I went away empty handed. I use the phone just for texts, and if I had a smart phone I could use all the other facilities.

    1. Hello Ivan. Actually, I could do with a new phone too. Because we don’t have a mobile phone signal in the house I’ve put off and put off getting a smart phone, but it’s crazy because if my car ever broke down I couldn’t ring the breakdown service on my old-fashioned thing. Well, I could ring them but I couldn’t hear what they said in response, whereas if I had a modern phone I could download Next Generation Text to it. I really MUST do something about it. Let’s have a pact to get it sorted.
      On the issue of not being able to hear the ring tones I still laugh about the very helpful shop assistant, years ago, who cheerfully set off all the travel alarm clocks in the shop until I found one I could hear without my hearing aids in. Goodness knows what all the shoppers thought because they were all going off on maximum volume, for obvious reasons. (That was before I graduated to having ones that vibrate under your pillow).

      1. Alarm clocks? We have an ancient one which used to blow my head off when my hearing was normal, but now I can’t hear a thing. Which leads me on to smoke and fire alarms. Most of them are way out of my hearing range. When others cover their ears with their hands, I’m looking round to try to fathom what the fuss is all about. I think manufacturers of new technological gadgets never even think that there may be people out there who simply cannot hear high frequency sounds. I think this is probably because the assumption is made that deafness is all about the volume of the sound. Make it really loud and everyone will hear it! Whereas the reality is that the volume of sound is only part of the story, Which leads me (in a round about sort of way) to acquaintances who, despite knowing I am deaf, say “…well you seem to be coping pretty well..” without actually realising that half or more of what is going on around me is unintelligible. Deafness is invisible, and very few people accommodate it. As somebody said to me recently, “.. it’s too dark to hear..” which to normal-hearing people sounds like sheer nonsense, but severely deaf poeople will know just what it means. It’s all part the general misunderstanding of what it is like to be really deaf. But then, being fair, how can you understand until you experience it yourself?

        I’m sorry but this has turned into a slightly bewildering ramble so I will stop.

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