The Fax

I have finally hit a wall, so to speak. And, yes, it’s over a fax machine and its long defunked dedicated phone line. Due to the marvels of modern technology, of which a fax machine long ago ceased being defined as, I am sitting in my back garden with my three chickens who cluck softly while nibbling grass and sampling bugs, the breeze plays through the big leaf maples and the inland water view remains constant and stable each time I look up from the wireless keyboard. I have found a new form of garden therapy.

This morning I woke to an e-mail from mom asking iif I could send her a test fax. I wrote back saying I sure could if she’d send me the number. I haven’t faxed her anything, probably, in over 15 years. This request was precipitated due to the fact that her attorney needed to give her some papers regarding yesterday’s hearing (more on that when I actually know what happened, because mom can’t remember) and mom was unsure if she could secure a ride into town. While out running errands I looked in my contacts on my phone and sure enough, there was the fax number. I called the number when I got home and, as I suspected, heard the following: The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please hang up and try again.” Mom and dad must have gotten rid of the dedicated fax line years ago.
I called mom to tell her she doesn’t have a dedicated fax line. The conversation went something like this…
Me: Mom, I found your fax #, called it and it’s disconnected.
Mom: If I plug the fax into it, will it work?
Me: No, Mom, when I call it, I get the…
Mom: But if I plug in the machine, will that make it work?!?
Me: Mom, listen. When I call the number, there’s a recording from the phone company saying, ‘this line is no longer in service.’
Mom: But if I plug the machine in, it should work!
Me: No mom, you and dad must have disconnected the dedicated fax line years ago.
Mom: Oh. Well, how do I use the fax?
Me: You can plug it into your regualr line, but only when you’re expecting a fax and then unplug it right away after you’ve received the fax, otherwise the fax machine will answer the phone for you!
Mom: (Laughs) Well, we don’t want that! So, I’d have to plug and unplug it each time I wanted to use it?
Me: Uh hu.
Mom: Isn’t there a code so you can leave it plugged in?
Me: I don’t know.
Mom: (While fussing with the fax & telling me what it was doing) How do I get it to dial out?
Me: I don’t know, Mom. I’m not in front of the machine.
Mom: There’s a monitor, I’ll see what it tells me. How do I get it to send?
Me: I don’t know, Mom. I’m not in front of the machine.
Mom: (Looking at the labeled duel phone line receptacle on the wall) Look! One is labeled 1234 (house line) and one is labeled 6789 (disconnected fax line). I can plug the fax line into 6789!
Me: Mom, that line is disconnected.
Mom: I know that!
Me: Why would  you plug the fax into 6789 then?
Mom: Because it’s the fax line!
Me: But it’s disconnected. It doesn’t work any longer.
Mom: I know that. I’m not stupid!! I just need to plug it in! You’re not listening to me! You don’t understand what I’m saying.
Me: You’re right mom, I don’t udnerstand what you’re saying.
This loop went around about 5 times before, in exasperation, I asked mom why her attorney couldn’t e-mail her the documents she needed to pick up. Mom said, “Oh, Tim is going to give me a lift so I can pick the documents up. It’s a lot of paper, too much to fax.
My daughter is taking me out somewhere this evening. She won’t tell me where. I hope there is a well stocked bar. 

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