Say Goodbye To My Little Friend…RIP Landline

I was struck by lightning this week. No, not in the form of a great idea or mental breakthrough. I mean the literal kind. A bolt from the sky that hit my backyard and traveled into my house kind of lightning.

This kind of strike, called a side flash, blew an electrical plate off the wall, sending plastic and metal shards through my home office. It knocked out the thermostat and burned out the control panel of our generator. It produced an alarming smoke smell (aside from the burned wires, nothing caught fire).

And yes, I was sitting in front and slightly to the side of the plate when the bits came whizzing by. No time to get up and go anywhere else, or catch any of the pieces. In the end, I was still finding shards of plastic four days later, scattered under furniture.

It also permanently removed our old friend, the telephone landline, from our lives.

The phone company tech who came out was not “specialist” enough to fix the landline issue; for that matter, telecommunications companies don’t have landline repair people anymore, because few people use them now. So our old reliable, stalwart household member is gone, the fried wires hidden beneath a plain plastic wall plate (well, not plain anymore; I drew a little tombstone on it).

The phones themselves survived the flash, and will be rerouted to VOIP service next week. Cheaper, more reliable and we can easily block the scammers and pests who pretty much used our landline as a playground, calling us for everything from computer problems (for computer brands we’ve never owned) to surveys to Social Security/Medicare issues that only a credit card or bank account number can fix, lest we wind up in jail.

For the record, we like to mess with scammers and phone pests. We do the whole wide-eyed, dumb-as-a-rock routine and play along with them, pretending to turn on the computer or take out the credit card, and proceed to give them all kinds of bogus information or bumble through their instructions. It’s easy to hang up on a scammer. Pissing off one enough to hand up on you is even better.

So we lost an old friend this week, thanks to the wrath of Nature. She’s quite the mother when she wants to be, but it won’t hurt to come into the 21st century, either. I may miss those suspiciously-accented calls from “Microsoft Mike” or “Steve from Apple” about my computer virus. I hope those “techs” find work in these strange times.

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