Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying to Survive Without a Phone

My friend, former teacher Ken Lawrence, cannot afford an iPhone, Blackberry or any other mobile device. He’s disabled, survives on a frugal budget, and his lifeline to doctors and 911 has been out of order for more than three weeks. When a life-threatening asthma attack occurred in the middle of the night, he reached for his land phone -- no dial tone.

Ken’s neighbors alerted me the next day. I called AT&T hoping to speak to a real live person. No such luck, there’s only a recording with a long menu for services. “Our first available appointment for service is February 1.” I hollered back at the recorded voice, “that’s over a week, he’s disabled in a wheelchair.”

“Thank you for calling AT&T,” was the final message.

The repairman finally arrived Feb. 1. He moved cables, climbed the telephone pole and tested the phone with various devices. “The phone’s working,” he reported and left.

An hour later it was out of order and still doesn’t work.

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