If we were to go back in time, it wouldn’t be surprising that it cost over $75 when Mr. Bell placed his first international phone call. Prior to the telephone, of course, there was the telegraph, Morse Code and what we now refer to as snail mail.

More often than not, people gathered in town whilst shopping or doing other errands like having their horses shoed, and it was then that people had verbal intercourse. Of course, there was also church on Sundays and holidays.

As today most have telephones, either or both landlines and cell phones, telegraph, the internet for instant messaging, voice mail so we won’t miss any calls, caller I.D. so we know who called and didn’t leave a message, and of course, person-to-person communication when available.

Oddly, however, it has been my observation that we humans communicate less than ever though our resources far exceed that which was available only a century ago. We place a call using one of our types of telephones, but rather than companies employing people to answer the phone, we are made to play “which button should we press to eventually, possibly, and maybe even in a timely manner, reach someone who is live and dare I say, of real assistance.”

The other day I telephoned our bank and was on hold for literally over an hour (our phone keeps track of the minutes of the call being placed.) After finally realizing this call would never be answered, I decided to try again first thing the next morning. After 10 minutes, I gave up the ghost as they were never going to answer. What irks me the most is their constant wittering about how important our call is to them. Really? Then why the hell don’t you prove it by hiring humans to answer the phone in a timely manner rather than paying it lip service. There have been occasions when I’ve driven to a company as that was the only way to ensure I would deal with a human being.

Of course, I used to try to skip all these messages (like press one for English, two for French only to have the next message in both languages; so why did they ask?) But these bombastic jerks cottoned on to that and now in many instances I receive a message saying zero is an invalid entry. I’ve even tried not pressing any buttons in hopes they’d think I didn’t have a touch tone telephone, and sometimes the call will be redirected but other times the machine keeps saying they didn’t get my response and eventually hang up on me. Even when I do everything right, I am often disconnected. And if you complain once someone finally does come to the line, they will also disconnect you; especially if they are idiots and you request to speak w/ their superior.

But now imagine if India outsourced their business to Canada and someone who only spoke one of their languages, let’s say Punjabi, called and expected a Canadian to diagnose their issue and solve it, and all the while expecting you to communicate in their language and be understood. How many born and bred Canadians would be able to do this?

Sadly, though Canada (at least Ontario; not sure about other provinces) offers to teach immigrants English at no cost to them, there are still many who would benefit from this program but don’t enroll. I’ve met people who came to Canada over 50 years ago, had children, even grandchildren but still cannot communicate in either of Canada’s official languages. I saw a lady yesterday with the cutest dog, and asked if he was friendly, as I wanted to have our dogs say hi. She had no idea what I was saying, and though she had two young children who likely speak English (they were coming from an elementary school) she was so scared of me, she crossed the road. The look on her dog’s face made me want to weep as he wanted to commune w/ our dogs, but she wouldn’t allow it, nor had she bothered to learn English so she would have understood what I was asking.

In closing, I just wish I could understand why, in a day and age where there are more ways of communicating than ever, there seems to be much less communication than ever. Even wishing to say hi when passing a person on the street is impossible as they have plugged their ears so they may either listen to music or speak w/ someone via cell phone. I guess I get annoyed that people would rather communicate w/ someone long distance than with someone face-to-face.

As for companies and their voice messaging systems, asking that you listen to their new menu, select one option after another and disconnect you should you try to skip the messages and press zero; I’ll be brief and succinct; I HATE THEM!

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