It took me two hours to send a fax yesterday.

Yes, you read that correctly. Two hours. And the technical term used was "fax."

Somehow I stepped outside of the time/space continuum and found a parallel universe where the Internet doesn't exist. Oh, and chocolate fountains weren't there either. Those poor people.

The reason the outdated technology was called forth is simple: one of my interview subjects for an article I'm working on prefers to receive the questions ahead of time. This is something savvy people do; I'll have to remember to ask for the questions beforehand when I get booked to appear on Ellen. ;)

Only the gentleman in question (well, his associate) asked if I could FAX over the questions.

"Of course," I replied, happy to finally get through the constantly busy phone lines to book the interview. "What's the number?"

After I hung up, I looked around my home office to see where the fax machine was. A stack of CDs slid off the desk as I peered around the office supplies and my ever-growing pile of books to read (thank you Nationals).

DH walked into the room, as did the cat, wondering what all the commotion was about.

"Don't I have a fax machine around here?" I asked him.

"Yes." He was giving me one of those looks again, not unlike Yoda. Only without the green skin and pointy ears -- and wacky verb use.

"Then where the heck is it?" I asked as the cat circled around my feet, effectively trapping me in my chair.

"On your desktop."

I turned and looked at my desk again, noticing my Vista Print re-order coupon was stuck underneath my Diet Coke can. The fax wasn't there, and I was sure the man I loved was pulling a fast one.

"Is not," I said with all the maturity a frustrated writer can manage.

He leaned over my shoulder and tapped at the keyboard. "The computer desktop, my love."

Program settings flashed across the screen, and they looked kind of familiar in an unfamiliar kind of way. His hands raced over the keys, making windows pop open, check marks appear in boxes and other bizarre things that I probably should have been paying attention to. Especially when he said:

"You're sure you can do this on your own? I'm heading out the door."

"Oh yeah," I lied. "I got this, no problem." I touched the mouse and a screen disappeared. "Go, you don't want to be late."

And that's when he left me.

My first ten attempts went nowhere since I didn't have the long-distance fax number entered correctly. And then I discovered that my wonderful fax program redials the number three times before giving up.

The person at the local number called me, a lovely woman named Gwen who used some interesting language to describe how she felt about fax machines. Little did I know that I was on the road to sharing her sentiments as I proceeded to work my way through the faxed-out madness.

Once I finally appeared to have deleted all the incorrect-number settings and entered the correct destination number one last time, I held my breath and stared at the progress bar on the screen.

Thirty seconds passed before it gave up. "Line busy" appeared in the status description.

No worries, I thought, cracking open a fresh Diet Coke, the system will do a retry. And another.

Curious, I dialed the fax number and was surprised when a voice answered.

"Is this Dr. X's fax number?" I asked.

"Yes," said the receptionist, "But sometimes patients call us on it when they can't get through on the other line."

Hmm. I'd have to try that one the next time I want to win a radio phone-in contest. Or get an appointment with my GP. :)

"Oh," I replied. "I've been trying to send a fax. I'm Bonnie, the writer with the list of questions."

"That's right. You said you were going to fax them right an hour ago." I heard papers shuffling at her end of the line. "Maybe you should mail them to us instead, the lines are always tied up on Tuesdays."

I was going to ask if it was because the doctor had some sort of Tuesday-only deal, but I resisted. There'd be time to ask him during the interview. If there was going to be one since the good doctor and his questions were still separated by a pesky modem and a busy phone line.

"How about I try as soon as we hang up?" I suggested.

She agreed and we both disconnected. When I turned to my screen I discovered, to my horror, that I had closed the fax program.

It only took me about ten minutes to find it. Only because I now knew that it was on my desktop. Ugh.

And yes, the fax finally did get through. And I just pray that the good doctor doesn't want to send one back to me. Good times. ;)

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