I left the United States 9 years ago. That's a long time in some ways and a very short time in others. Regardless. In that time, some things have changed for the better and some for the worse. Television has gotten both better and worse, and I know you know exactly what I mean. The country has had to live through what will some day be referred to as the Very Bad W Bush Years. (You're free to disagree with me but I don't want to hear about it. I've very closed-minded that way.) You can get a soy mocha at just about any coffee shop, even in a small city in the midwest. No comments about the midwest, please, I'm from there. But feel free to comment about soy milk if you feel like it. I'm very open-minded that way.
Anyway, telephone lines have clearly taken a turn for the worse. I have 3 friends, and you know who you are, who have the most evil phone system ever. I suppose it's great for you to be able to filter out the riff-raff, the telemarketers, the scammers, the stalkers and the prank callers. But take it from me, being on the other end of it totally bites.
I called one of you last week. The evil phone voice told me I was not recognized by the system. Then EPV told me I needed to enter a code, but you can't do that from overseas. Then EPV told me to press 2 if I wanted to try to get through the acceptance process anyway. I said my name after the beep. EPV announced my name several times. But I was not accepted. You, my friend, were not home. But instead of letting me leave a message like any other CIVILIZED phone voice, EPV told me to get lost. She used more polite words than those, but the message conveyed was definitely get lost. Of course, I was charged international phone rates for this abuse and I didn't even get to leave a message. You didn't even know I called and was thinking about you.