Dinosaurs in New York


Cindy Adams, the perennial gossip columnist of the New York Post, knows from gossip, if you consider gossip really caring which model dances at which club within the boundaries of her narrow Manhattan world.  Unease with foreigners, coupled with bad manners, led to her verbal assault on delegates to the Republican convention in New York who dared invade her territory.  She obviously thought it was clever.
Displaying the calcified mind of a New York liberal unable to adapt or change, yesterday she ranted about the demise of AT&T——the name and service——longing for the good old days.  She obviously thinks she is clever now also.
Dinosaurs didn't adapt so they disappeared.  Will that soon happen to columnists like this? 

Ethel C. Fenig   2 7 05
February 6, 2005 —— BYE—BYE, AT&T. Hello, lousy service. I'm sorry to see AT&T disconnect. We can thank the Carter administration for that. I mean, Carter didn't care. Only time anyone ever calls him is when some 4—F country is basting together an election. The other brain to thank is that judge who ruled against the AT&T monopoly. Him we should have given $200 and let him pass "Go."

AT&T was this country's gold standard. Widows invested in it. Alexander Graham Bell made a portfolio of it. Don Ameche made a career of it. Next to the Mickey Mice who went after Martha, it was the most efficient network ever devised.

A person could actually get a human on it who'd actually locate the number of an office in, say, Bucharest, when you wished to speak to a friend working there. Now, without these digits already in your possession, on hand, in advance, plus the overseas code, country code, city code, area code and callee's ATM PIN number, you can't call them. You can't even call an operator!

You need to go online. This means for one lousy phone call, you have to have a computer. You have to be technologically savvy. You have to wait for Windows to boot, log on to the Internet, discover your service provider is, for some reason, not providing service that day and, by the time you get it all together, you've decided you're not crazy about this person in the first place, don't know why you're blowing all this money to speak to them, they don't appreciate you anyhow, so the hell with them — and you never make the call.

Bye—bye, Ma Bell. I already miss you even though I lost money on your stock. But then, I miss so much that's newly wrenched from me. I miss Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Sabena, Swissair. I miss Le Cirque, Lutece, La Cote Basque, the Russian Tea Room. I miss something that was Yugoslavia and is today a chow mein of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia. I miss Tom Brokaw and Dick Grasso. Well, Brokaw, anyway. And I'm soon to miss The Plaza hotel I knew. Entering this august, glorious, historic famous grande dame in the future to buy a pair of drawers on sale in a department store? Hellooooo!?

I long for those relics like, for instance, a motion picture that ends after 90 minutes. Forget large checkered yellow cabs. How about English—speaking cabbies? Going back a ways, how about UPI and that other initialed organization that once was so valid — CIA? The Burma Road is now The Myanmar Road. Bombay is now Mumbai. Madras is now Chennai. Kirstie Alley is now fat. Even patience doesn't exist anymore. It's bye—bye, AT&T, and bye—bye, Social Security. Modernization is breaking up that old gang of mine.

And let mother tell you what we have in exchange, kiddies. I needed a phone—service installation. Whom do you call? Lucent? Avaya? Nextel? Nokia? IT&T, Southwestern Bell? Northeastern Bell? Rocky Mountain Bell? Newark Bell? Bell, You Is My Woman Now? T—Mobile? Cingular? Comcast? Qwest? SBC? Verizon? Sprint? Screw? Who? I ended up requiring four different companies. One set of dwarfs just ran wire upstairs from the basement. Other Lilliputians then ran the lines to my telephone outlets. Someone else did the equipment. Someone else repaired the equipment. Someone else broke the equipment. Someone else suggested I shove the equipment.

My own techie mislaid the manual on actually how to equip this equipment. He couldn't program it once we got it. They said a new manual is $65. We said we owned a dozen telephones and shouldn't that entitle us to a free manual? They said, "No." We asked, "Why?" They said, "Because." We asked, "Can't we just go online and get it?" They said, "Sure." We went online. The information that came back was: "You can get a manual for $65."

Last year, cellphones in India zoomed 260 percent. Ten Asian markets sold 163 million handsets. America sold 129 million. And all of them — ALL — are in my neighborhood, in my elevators, in my restaurants, in my face and on my nerves.

And the hotels. I called one. The voice said: "Good afternoon . . . no, sorry, I meant good evening . . . this is the So—and—so Hotel, a division of the Inter—International Hotel Group, the weather is 32 degrees Celsius and my name is Florence, how may I assist you?" How may you assist me? By getting off the phone, idiot! All I want is to talk to the person I'm calling. If I wanted to talk to you, I'd call you direct!

And don't even discuss the brilliance of whatever cockroach had the idea of bisecting Manhattan's 212 with 646. May they dial an airline and be put on hold forever.

I wonder if Candice Bergen ever really used Sprint or Catherine Zeta—Jones ever really uses T—Mobile. In any case, AT&T? I really don't like you anymore — but I really will miss you.