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Relay-Interruptus (Or, I Just Want a Damn Pizza!)

Ok. I am sufficiently fed up enough with relay services to write Yet Another Deaf Rant About the Relay.

Let me paint a picture for you.

MacWorld, San Francisco (a conference I’m currently attending). Hunger. Dinner time. The buzzing city all around me.

Ah! Round Table Pizza (The Last Honest Pizza)– a delectable treat for one long used to the floppy New York style pizza commonly found in the East. Let’s order that!

I pull out my trusty Mac laptop, fire up iChat, and try to connect to Hands On VRS’s VRS service via iChat. Darn, it doesn’t work. Apparently there is an issue with either my laptop or the hotel’s internet firewall. No problem! I’ll just use text-based AIM relay.

If my life were a movie, that’s when the horror music would have started. Nnn-nnnn….Nnnn-nnnn…. I double-click on My IP Relay, and tell them the phone number for Round Table Pizza. Here’s a sample conversation:

myiprelay: IP RELAY RO XXXXF DIALING 415 474 2500 PLS HD
myiprelay: RING 1, 2 (M)
myiprelay: (opr here fast greeting) excuse me qq (sounds confused) (HUNG UP ANOTHER CALL QQ) GA

Ok. FINE. One of those. I call these species fast-hanguppers or relay-afraidus. So let’s try, try again.

bobbycox: Don’t announce relay and pls call back, thanks, ga
myiprelay: (M) (opr here fast greeting) (opr here relaying ur msg)
myiprelay: whats ur phone number qq (sounds hurried) person said hello qq hello qq (HUNG UP)

Ok. That last line was all at once, so naturally I had NO TIME TO RESPOND. By now in the horror movie there would be a ghostly hand reaching up to grab me from behind.

So maybe it’s My IP Relay? Sometimes I have trouble with hangups on their service. Let’s try another relay service! My appetite for pizza must be fed!

thatshamilton: You have been blocked from using the service. Please contact customer service (info@hamiltonrelay.com). If you feel this is in error.

What? What now? What did I do? Blocked? Me? Jeez. Ok. Let’s try this from another another screen name. Aha!

thatshamilton: HRS CAXXXXF DIALING
thatshamilton: RING 1
thatshamilton: RING 2
thatshamilton: Round Table Pizza…hello ga

…and I finally order the pizza. But not without TWO more hangups. However, the Hamilton Relay operator typed back to me faster, enabling me to keep the conversation moving fast enough for the hearing person not to become a fast-hangupper.

As an aside, I know that suspicious types overseas often use the relay service to conduct fraud on businesses in the USA, so often I will get the hangup treatment. One place I called in D.C. for computer and office supplies even refused to talk to my hearing coworker after I had tried calling them several times, suspecting that she was in on the scam. Crazy.

Moral of the story? When ordering pizza in a strange city, make sure you eat a snack beforehand. You may be in for a long phone call. And use a text-based relay service that you are comfortable with.

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