Where do you go to make a phone call?

By Kelli Christainsen

I love the phones here. They work so well, so efficiently.

“I’m sorry, all circuits are busy, please try your call again. This is a recording.”

“But, operator, I’m only calling across town.”

“Too bad, lady. You cannot use your phone.”

“But, operator, what if this is an emergency?”

“Die. I don’t care. Scream very loudly. But whatever happens, you cannot place your call now.”

“Well, operator, when do you think it will be possible for me to place my call?”

“Try placing your call at midnight or later.”

“But, operator, I think I’ve just seen a UFO.”

“Well, you better hope it comes back early in the morning because you cannot place your call now.”

So I exaggerated. A little. The first part of the conversation was real, but, unfortunately, I did not get the chance to respond to the operator who so graciously told me that I could not place my call. I do wonder why, still, I cannot call anywhere in the U.S. or overseas between 9:30 p.m. and midnight. One of those questions of life, I suppose. Never to be answered. Only to be pondered.

Well, I’m pondering. I can only imagine the possibilities. Perhaps everyone on campus is calling their respective parents at 9:30. Or, maybe everybody’s parents are calling them. Either way, children are talking to their parents. Could this be the reason? I really just don’t know.

Let’s see. Why else could it be? Is it that there are UFOs circling campus and each night they disrupt the phone lines? No. That is way off the wall. Certainly that cannot be the answer.

Maybe there are phone gods who are teasing us. Making us think that we have phones that work on demand, when really they only operate between midnight and 9:30 p.m. Those meanies…No. That’s also a little too bizarre.

Oh! I’ve got it! I’ve really got it now. It’s that there are currents of evil surging over the phone lines. Invading our minds. What we all believe to be a tape-recorded message of an operator denying to place our calls is truly an evil demon seeping into our brains.

Oh, this is too weird, isn’t it? Yes, I know it is. But the fact remains that I am completely stumped as to why I can never place a call—anywhere—between 9:30 and midnight. Can anyone figure it out? Could this be an episode for Unsolved Mysteries. Sure!

Current phone books? We’re supposed to have current phone books? I thought we were always supposed to get them in the spring semester. I didn’t think I was allowed to know the phone numbers of my friends during the fall. I thought I was obligated to call information…but, as all you off-campusers should know by now, do not call the 3-1000 number for information because they will be more than eager to tell you that they “do not have off-campus numbers available” for those who call from off-campus. (Please read that last sentence out loud, while gritting your teeth, in a menacing tone.) And don’t try to fool them. They can hear that double ring. They know it’s you.

So, by now it sould be clear that I simply do not understand the entire phone system here at NIU. It baffles me. Everything is so confusing. So complicated. No phone books. No information. No phones for the last four and a half hours during the day.

Ah, these wonders of modern technology. Alexander Bell would be so proud.