Moments of Permanence

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Somewhere between a PSA and Schadenfreude Apr. 29th, 2009 @ 09:21 am
Sometimes I leave my phone in my bedroom. This is extra-likely if I'm feeling fragile. The way I see it, if someone wants to get in touch with me by phone (which, in the evenings, is rare), one of the following will be true:

1) They have the home number, and will call that.
2) They have Dean or Chas's number, and will call that.
3) It won't be urgent.
4) They'll be someone I don't want to deal with.

In not unrelated news, last night my mother and sister spent a chunk of last night in a panic, around the time I was having dinner and chatting to housemates.

When I went to bed, I heard my phone buzz its "you have an SMS, you negligent fool" reminder, found and checked it, and uncovered this sequence:

Message One: My Father

Help! Please call me. I am in an emergency.

Now, I have seen this before. This is a function of his phone - you trigger the emergency alert and it sends this message to people you've specified (in his case, me, my mother, and my sister), and also switches to a mode where it automatically answers when called.

I knew I had subsequent messages, however, so I did not immediately react to this.

Next message: service provider notification that I have a voicemail. I'll check that in a second.

Message Three: My Father

I an fine (sic)

Message Four: My Father

My apologies for the alarm. It somehow got triggered while the phone was in my sports bag. Setting it up seemed like a good idea at the time ...

Ladies and gentlemen, my father.

The voicemail was from my mother, explaining that everything was okay, but she and my sister had had a half hour panic. Just to check, I called my parents. First I spoke to my father, and mocked him for the fact that his phone has an emergency panic mode that a) he has now triggered by accident twice and b) he cannot remember how to trigger on purpose. So all the emergency alert system actually tells us is that my father is almost certainly fine, just, you know... thing!

I laughed at him a bit for this.

Then I talked to my mother for a while. (Opening statement when she took the phone: "You know you married an idiot, right?" "Yes.") As I suspected, the panic was the time mother and sister spent trying to find out if Dad was actually in an emergency. Mum tried to contact the leisure centre he was playing squash at, but they were having a problem with the phone system... so she called one a couple of suburbs over and explained the problem. The helpful receptionist at Craigie e-mailed Heathridge, and when Heathridge's receptionist checked her e-mail, she was able to call my mother back, and make contact with my not-emergency-experiencing father.

Meanwhile, my sister was also in a tizzy about what was happening to her daddy that set this off.

I suspect that around this time, I was reading out viola jokes to my amused housemates.

Mum and I talked for a while, and some of it was probably good and important communication, and I was very sympathetic... but sympathy in my family is often accompanied by snickering.

The moral of the story is twofold: First, I am possibly a bad person to consider an "emergency contact", at least if you're relying on my mobile phone; however, since the only person who lists me as an emergency contact is my father, who only emergency-contacts me by accident, this really doesn't amount to much. Second, if you do need to get hold of me and I don't answer my phone, call the house phone or someone I live with.
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