Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Listen up, Julie!

This morning, I tried to make a train ticket reservation over the phone since you can't buy one at the station out here.  This simple task seems to be easier said, than done.  First you have to talk with "Julie", Amtrak's automated computer girl/cyborg.  She asks a question and then you have to answer clearly with information about which train you would like.  Once again, easier said than done.  The first time through, she tried to book me a train from Idaho.  The second time, I tried especially hard to e-nun-ci-ate my words and ended up just kind of screaming out names of towns and repeating "that one" and "the first one!" when Julie could not understand me.  Part of the problem was that I have terrible cell phone reception out here and there are definite "dead zones" in my house so I am often trying to find one little bar of service, usually standing with my head smashed against a window.  The other problem was the volume of the beastly dogs, play-fighting, barking, growling, and jumping from one couch to the other; basically causing a general ruckus.  They kept barking exactly when "Julie" would ask me a question like "how many passengers will be travelling?"  After Daisy growled at the puppy, "Julie" said "Ok, 1 adult and 4 infants.  Is that correct?" After I finally cleared up my train schedule with Julie (after about 15 minutes), I wondered why I couldn't have spoken to a real human being and made my reservation in less than 5 minutes.  I also wondered if 4 infants would be easier to deal with than two dogs.

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