The trouble with travel

. . . is coming back.


After a fabulous, amazing, astonishing trip to Vienna, Croatia,
Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Macedonia, I returned to . . .
the most ridiculous frustrations.

What a crazy day. Just a few highlights: I had to call a doctor’s
office, which I won’t name to protect the guilty. Their voicemail–of
course! You couldn’t expect someone actually to ANSWER the phone–gave
this enlightenment: If you’re calling a prescription, call a drugstore.
We don’t take phone calls about prescriptions. We’re only open from 9 to
5; if you’re calling at some other time, you’ll have to call back. Some
other message, which I found by accident, tells you that they’re not
really open from 9 to 5, they close for 2 hours at lunch, starting at
12:30. Never mind that it’s now 12:15 and nobody’s there And
furthermore, if you’re calling while they’re at lunch–this was the
best!–don’t even think about leaving a message, because IT WILL BE

My question to you, dear readers, is, if you’ve got all these
restrictions, most of which revolve around not taking messages, why have
voicemail? Why not just let the phone ring? Why make callers crazy?

Come to think of it, most of my problems today involved the
telephone. I also had to call a friend who works in human resources at A
Major Medical Center, which I also won’t name, see above, ditto. My
call was Very Important to them, and the Next Available Agent would be
with me as soon as possible, but Due To Unusually High Call Volume, my
Estimated Wait Time was . . . 30 seconds.

Thirty MINUTES later, having redialed several times, I decided to
amuse myself by pressing random buttons: ‘1’ got me to Patient Billing,
which was, of course, closed at 4:15. They cheerfully advised me to Call
Back Tomorrow! ‘2’ was, most mysteriously, the School of Dentistry, and
no, they couldn’t look up a number at the institution because They
Don’t Have A Phonebook. In the meantime, I called another number I’d
been given for human resources (alas, alas, the number on the Major
Medical Center’s website was . . . Not A Working Number); unfortunately,
it was Actually Cardiology. But they were very nice and put me back
through to . . . the Dreaded Main Number.

Now! I’ve gotten that out of my system. Next, soon, far more
interesting entries on the Balkans. . . Your Estimated Wait Time for
this entry is . . .

not too long!

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