Tag: telephone

Calling Beth

Here’s another blog entry you can read or listen to as I recorded it for the Grantcast.  If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!

Calling Beth
By Grant Baciocco

I solemnly promise that this blog is not going to become a collection of old girlfriend stories, but I do have one more to tell. And actually, this story is less about a girl than it is about my own stupidity.  Although, those two things often go hand in hand.

My first girlfriend in college was a theatre major, like myself. Her name was Beth and she was studying costuming and was a year ahead of me. We hit it off pretty well when she was doing costumes for a play I was in and we started going out. This was in the fall of 1992.

As we approached Christmas, she got the opportunity to go study in Europe over the winter break. We promised to keep in touch while she was gone.

I lived in the dorms at Long Beach State all four years of college and, like most dorms did back then, we had a unique phone system. It was almost like a hotel. You had to dial a special number to dial out. It also allowed you to call into a special number and find out how much you owed on your bill. It was a little clunky, but it worked.

Beth took off to Europe and I stayed in Long Beach. I was taking a few classes during winter break, so I stayed back in the dorms during that time. Beth and I had planned to talk on the phone just a few times because the bills would be huge. She’d call me one week, then I’d call her the next. Well, after the first phone call I made to her, I called into the central computer to see what my bill was. I was fearing the worst, but was pleasantly surprised that my phone bill had only ticked up about five dollars.

Five dollars?! For a thirty minute phone call to Europe?! These were great rates.

The next time Beth and I talked on the phone I told her that, from then on, I would call her and we could talk as long as we wanted. And you’d better believe we did. For the next two weeks, almost daily. My phone bill crept up by teeny tiny amounts after each call. Probably spent a good thirty dollars in phone calls over the rest of the break.

Finally, the first day of the Spring semester rolled around and the students returned to campus and the people that ran the phone systems returned to the office. The first moment I knew I was in trouble was when we received a campus wide voicemail from the people that ran the phone company.

“Residents, we just wanted to inform you that over the winter break there was a small glitch in the reporting of the phone calls over the winter break. We will be fixing that glitch over the next few hours. Until we are caught up, your final amounts due will be incorrect.”

I frantically called into the system. My bill was $50 more than it had been the last time I’d checked. With a feeling like I had been punched in the gut, I spent the rest of the day calling into the system and listening as my bill rose higher and higher.

When the dust settled, I had made over $350 in calls to Europe. I swallowed my pride and paid for it, partially, with the money I had got as gifts for Christmas.

Beth and I broke up later that semester after she got home from Europe. When it was over, she brought me a garbage bag with all the things I had ever given her in it. Sadly, there wasn’t $350 in the bag.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media

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