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Voicemail Artifacts.

115 voicemails.

74 minutes.

My voicemail service emails all my voicemails.

Four days ago, I received an email that a new voicemail to text service, free on a trial basis, would begin immediately unless I clicked no.

I made no response.

Then my voicemails stopped.  I called myself the next day and left a test voicemail. Nothing. The voicemail gave every indication I was leaving a message, but nothing showed up.

So I called and talked to the company about the problem.  I was assured it was be fixed immediately.

The next day I had no voicemails.  I called the company again and a rather harassed technician said it was a system wide problem probably related to the new voicemail to text service.  He said he’d call back later in the day as soon as it was fixed.

No call, and no voicemails a day later, I called the company again, and got a different technician.  He worked through the problem to remove any connection from the voicemail to text service. He also gave a way to access the voicemails in case none came via email.

The voicemails started emailing, but I checked the access.

115 voicemails, the automated voice said. Panic gripped me. 

I started listening. They were all between January 1 and February 18 of 2008.  For some reason, the first 49 days of this service stored my voicemails.  

The first one was a university professor calling with the good news that an employee I tried to get a scholarship for received her scholarship.  I remembered this one.  Then a voicemail from an insurance adjustor about storm damage. 

There were several voicemail reminders from myself.  One was a voicemail from a basketball game, telling me my daughter told me her record for frozen pickle pops was 14.

Several voicemails wer hang-ups.  There was a salesman who left several long messages on territories and what questions may have been generated from his prior letters and emails and that he’d call to answer my questions. “I’m sure this is a great opportunity for you,” he said.

An AT&T salesman left several messages trying to get me to change my mind on a phone package.  “We can get the paperwork signed and faxed out today,” he said.

A woman who called the wrong number mistaking me for an orthopedic surgeon though our automated system clearly identifies the office and who has each extension said she had several important questions about her impending knee surgery.

“What’s up with that?” she began, questioning the message on the voicemail, and then asked if I’d mind going over her surgery again.

A workman left a message saying he’d discount a bill he just sent because he screwed up the paperwork .

There was a voicemail from February 1, 2008 from myself calling about three miles away from the office, angry about a guy who had been tailgating me who was unable to pass because of traffic.  I later found out it was an Olympic gold medalist on the way to a meeting.

Another was a client waiting downstairs after hours because the elevator was not functioning and wanted me to come get her.  

The others included a call from someone who thought they hung up but didn’t, and the soundtrack from the television show The Office was recorded for three minutes. A paralegal from Corpus Christi, a waitress from a truck stop, a janitor, my banker, and a salesman from American Classifieds who explained his company formerly had been Thrifty Nickel and wanted to know if I wanted to buy advertising.  “We could do some business, you know?” he said.

Thus ended the unexpected peek into the past.