24-May-2007

Ole! telefono

My Spanish is highly limited. After one year of Salsa classes I can mutter words like dos, tres, tarito, una bella etc. But that is akin to little kids mimicking adults while learning to speak. And I don’t even sound that cute. With such a background, I do not know for what worthy reason I have been given an intercom facility that communicates to me purely in Spanish.

When the department secretary came to me with a glint in his eye to tell me I would be getting a new intercom line, I should have been suspicious. He breathed in hushed tones that the machine had a digital line. I must admit I was a bit stumped. Didn’t everybody not have a digital line or for that matter what exactly did a digital line mean? However in an effort to conceal my ignorance, I reacted with all the glee of a person who has been informed she is on top of Santa Claus’s best kids list and is likely to reap the bounty. Our secretary got even more excited by my excitement till we both were practically hysterical at the thought of me being given a digital phone line. What next? A double promotion? A 100% pay hike? The possibilities seemed endless.

I got my new line. The instrument certainly looked highly advanced. The numbers from 0 – 9 which had been the central focus of my earlier phone looked like a mere afterthought. Two major columns of buttons on either side of a flashy digital display said stuff like ‘park, auto dial, ring again’. The most exciting part was this bright red button that stood out in contrast to the other grey and white buttons on the phone. It looked like the kind of button with which you could activate nuclear devices in early James Bond movies. Digital was good.

Then trouble struck. I realized that accidentally hitting any button would give me a range of options in Spanish. For a phone with buttons marked in English, the display coming in Spanish was, as Sherlock Holmes would say, singular. I had no clue how to respond to Option #7 Diagnostico Pantalla or #9 Chasquido de Tecla. Infact the only option I could understand was Adjustar Volumon and frankly nothing I did adjusted the volume at all. I checked with the secretary and he apologetically told me it was a problem. The previous user had solved it by always holding his elbows up in the air lest he hit unintended buttons and entered into some mode he could not exit. I ceased to laugh at this solution after I spent half a day trying to come out of a tricky option (and no, lifting up the receiver and putting it back in the cradle does not solve all problems).

I have since come to accept the fact that my phone is bilingual or perhaps actually schizophrenic. I don’t hold my elbows up to avoid unnecessary contact but have instead placed my intercom at one end of my small workstation and crouch at the other end. I love it despite that or perhaps because of it. Even on a bad day where works seems mundane, I can always challenge myself by fiddling around with my phone. We are good together.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are soooo good in writing... Not only ur write-ups are original, they are really funny too... You should seriously consider taking up a writing job. Thanks so much!

--Eclair.

p.s: It took me like 10 mins and 5000 backspace hits to write this comment! I really don't know how you write so well. I guess, its indeed an art!

Anita said...

Thanks. I hope I can take up writing someday.