By Emily Lundy
Any time a group of 70 year olds and above assemble, the conversation eventually turns to doubt and fear about the future.
Pointed out is the new longevity, the high cost of Medicare, medical research, needs for elderly not realized before, some living only on Social Security, living long enough to get funds from own retirement plans. We’re not popular. It’ll get worse. We no longer can be employed because of worn out parts on us or in us, we have no way to fight inflation, we don’t want our children supporting us, and we’re cutting back, down, selling items that will go. Does anyone care that we are a vital part paying the taxes for half of Americans, many non-deserving, but not all.
A few of us are well loved, but not as a whole. We see charges for care and needs way bloated and out of sight to keep others in the Golden Lane, which hurts all ages of citizens eventually. I’m not speaking up. If I write letters, I won’t sign my name.
But for those with the plans for the elderly including the green cookie permanent digestion plan or the refusal of medicine for those with a chronic disease or conveyor-belt surgery with a drive-in window to keep us weak-boned out of hospitals or the talk of gathering us up, filling a bus for deep into Mexico, catching us even as we run to take us, there is a solution.
Keep telephone usage and habits the way they are now; quicker than you think we’ll be mindless and immovable. You can do anything with us you want because of:
1. Calls with no one on the other end. Repeated daily.
2. Calls with automated voice telling you to wait for an important message. Or callers with accents who won’t let us speak to someone we can understand.
With thick accents the caller says he or she is speaking English. It’s my fault I can’t understand. Worse, a caller starts with a number for me to call, but she says the number rapidly and I catch only three in no explicit order. Unbelievably I call a doctor nearby. Robot voices tell me to choose a number to push for my doctor; another automated voice gives me choices for my reasons to speak. When I finally get to my destination, a voice says to leave my name, phone number, reason for calling, and I’ll be called back. The call never comes or comes too late. If I need a refill on medicine I must call my pharmacy and allow seven days to receive it. Those with copay cannot do this as it’s too early for the refill as it must be refilled close to the date of the first prescription. If you don’t understand this, don’t worry. I can’t explain it.
3. Calls that begin with a ship whistle to eliminate what hearing was in that good ear. Then comes the offer for five days to Greece on a liner, and I can’t afford to purchase healthy grease.
4. Calls from dozens of charitable groups with no proof. If we give to all, we’ll also be on a charity list. I tell these I support my own health charity and one more. Will they contribute to mine? I don’t want to seem cruel. I give what I can.
5. Still calls for warranty on autos we drove so long ago we hardly remember them. One live person said, “Can’t I sell you any kind of warranty on your 2006 Pontiac?” “Well, what do you drive?” “What year?” And I interrupt to ask, “Why am I giving this info to you?” Caller hangs up. Closely related are callers who want to charge you to help you get out of debt.
6. Calls with caller I.D. with “unknown caller.” If caller knows me, I need to know him or her.
7. Ringing phone but no one can find the miraculously invented cordless phone. It soon stops ringing, and we wonder….
8. Break-in calls to person on other line, and she talks to us both via cell phone, or it’s a long-distance call to a person, and she breaks for five minutes, and yes, I mind, unless a doctor or the billionaire is calling, or this interrupter is perhaps long-distance too.
9. Insurance companies calling four or five times daily. I like what I have. Will I later? I don’t know. Will I like changing? I don’t know. I’m scared to do this and afraid to do that. The sky is falling in, Chicken Little.
10. Long distant robots I cannot talk to for information of a phone number. Robot doesn’t know difficult last names or long-lettered states. Robots telling me to “stay on the line. Don’t hang up. Someone will be on live in person to talk soon. My wait will be five minutes. My wait will be 10 minutes. My wait will be 15. I’ll be sorry if I hang up,” or something like that. Now some music.
Here’s a tip that can help. Place your phone on “speaker.” If someone ever talks again and has time for you, you can be working at something else and hear the person. Then you’ll know the length of wait. It may be hours! Are the people calling charged the same rate for service as I? Telephone use is probably an entitlement my own taxes pay for others. When people who worked can’t pay the taxes, is this the end?
Those my age and over say, “We haven’t seen the worst yet.”