Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hollaback Boy


Today I had to kill my phone’s text messaging functionality (not a huge loss) after Cingular (now AT&T) informed me they simply did not have the technology to block specific phone numbers. Seems like something they should be able to handle, being not just a phone company but AT and fucking T, after all, but hey, they assured me they’re working on it. All in good time, I’m sure.

The problem is, ever since I started with Cingular (about a year and a half ago?), I've intermittently been on the receiving end of Spanish-language text messages from a telephone number in Mexico—directed, I’m presuming, at whoever it was who had my number before me. I'd never responded to them before now, thinking whoever was sending them would eventually realize they weren’t reaching their party. But they never did figure it out, and yesterday I got another one:

"Hola como estan"

Perhaps feeling a bit of the holiday spirit, this time I replied. After all, who knows? Maybe it’s someone trying to contact a long lost friend or loved one all this time; perhaps my lack of response was sending an inaccurate message. What’s more, every time I send or receive a text, AT&T charges me 15 cents for the privilege, and I’ve been keeping a tally: the mystery Mexican’s communiqués were on track to reach the $3 mark by the first quarter of ’08! So after a year and a half of radio silence, I clicked “reply” and sent the simple message,

"Wrong number."

Figuring that was the end of it, I was surprised to feel the phone hum in my pocket a few minutes later. They had texted me again, saying cryptically,

"Graciela aguilar rodrigues (sic)"

Was that who’s been writing me all this time? Or was that who they were trying to contact? Did it really matter? I wrote back,

"No. Wrong number."

To which they replied,

"Preguntale a tu mama" ("Ask your mama")

Ask my…! Son of a bitch. How does one respond to such a thing, particularly after already extending what, 30 cents worth of courtesy to the party in question? And that’s just today!

I guess I could have fallen back on some of my out-of-practice Spanish; it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that I can still remember most of the insults and swear words, even as I continue to mangle transactions as simple as a taco order.

Besides, I began to entertain the fantasy that my correspondent didn’t speak English, and I decided to give them something they’d have to ask a bilingual friend to translate for them, compounding their humiliation. I took the lowest road I could:

"Fuck you, bitch. Tu mama is sucking my dog's cock!"*

As that seemed a particularly stinging phrase to be left unable to respond to, I decided it was time to take an abrupt leave of the discussion.

I called AT&T, and when they couldn’t block the number, I told them to just cancel my text messaging capability completely, rendering my phone incapable of either giving or receiving—just in time for the season renowned for both!

In conclusion, don’t bother text messaging me any time soon; I won’t get it. And if any of you care to make the acquaintance of my new friend in Mexico, they can be reached at 011 52 962 125 7364.

Oh, and ask for Graciela; I’m pretty sure their mom is busy.

* For the record, I don't have a dog.