Phones “Smart” Except for Making Calls

My smartphone is smarter than me, and it was rubbing it my face over the weekend. Firstly, in Nova Scotia I now have to use 10-digit dialing even for local calls, 11 digits (including “1”) for long distance calls, and 12-digits (including “9 to get out”) when I am calling from the office, except of course only 11 digits from the office for local calls (including the “9” but not the “1”) or when I’m calling from the office using my smartphone, which used to be able to figure it all out from 7 digits but now needs 10 or 11 but never 12.

But I’m not stupid, I usually get it right after three tries. All I have to remember is “where am I?”, “what phone am I using?”, and “where is the person I am calling?”. I’m working on a flowchart to make it easier.

So I did finally get the call out and left my smartphone phone number with their voice mail. Except I had left my phone on the charger and stepped out when they called back . When I returned, my smartphone cheerily let me know I had voice mail, so I went to the phone app to retrieve it.

Only my “Voice Mail” icon had disappeared.

It was as gone as the Hamilton Tigercats. There was an icon for me to call home, one to call my wife on her cell, and one to call my daughter, all with a single tap. (Except the last time I tried any of those, the call didn’t go through because I had the wrong number of digits. Sheesh!) But the spot for retrieving voice mail with a single tap was empty. I tried restarting the phone app. Nothing. I tried restarting the phone. No joy there either. I finally appealed to our office administrator who told me how to retrieve voice mail from an ordinary phone. (For you youngins, “ordinary” means one that is attached to a wall via a wire, and does nothing other than phone calls.)

After three tries, I finally reached the voice mail system and was able to retrieve my message, and after three tries was able to respond to it.

Who knew using the phone could be so hard? I finally did find out how to reinstate my voice-mail icon. It was buried deep in my “options”, which I could swear I never touched. But who would believe me. I probably did get rid of it inadvertently one day trying to tap 10 or 11 or 12 digits correctly and hopping all over the place with my fingers and thumbs.

These devices are great for texting and getting football scores, but they could make phone calling a bit easier. After all, they are called “phones”.

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