Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
October 23, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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October 23, 1997

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Community News Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, October 23, 1997 21 I II I I The ecstasy of modern tec:hnology Cellular telephones, the ubiquitous icon of the last decade of the 20th century. Everyone has a cell phone. Half the auto accidents of the 1990s involve a driver with a hand full of telephone and a head full of conversation. Back packers carry them, school children carry them, on call ladies oftbe boule- yard tuck them demurely into their bodices. Thanks to cellu- lar technology, from anywhere in America we can reach out and touch someone, except maybe in Baker. I have been no stranger to cellular telephone use. Many of the people I bring to the desert make extensive use of cell phones and I've learned exactly where they work in the arid outback. There are certain piles of stones at Dumont Sand Dunes that indicate cellular reception areas. Often we park motorhomes in places of good reception. I know where the actual cells are located on the mountain tops and I know what cell services work and which don't, or at least I thought I did. I decided I needed a cell phone. Not for any exciting and adventurous messages I might transmit to the world, but rather for the most mundane of purposes. Iwant to be able to check my answering machine from the field. Seems a simple thing. I'm certainly a simple fellow. In the busy busfliug Barstow Wal-Mart there is a kiosk for LA Cellular. LA Cell has a nice promotion running where you only have to sign up for two years and after a couple of low price months, the service rises to $20 per month for the rest of the two years. Sounded good. I walk up to the kiosk and a pleasant young man named Scott introduces me to the won- ders of cellular. Once I have decided to spend the money, it gets to be fun. I pick out a phone that works both analog and digital (how about that fancy tech talk). I purchased a cord that I can use in the dune buggy and I get the super battery that can power Las Vegas. After the credit check, which overlooks a few minor indiscretions, I sign articles of indenture and I'm on my way. I am one very happy fresh whelped techie. At home, with Shirley out for the evening, I set up the charger and start powering up the battery. I retire to the bed room and start working my way through the owner's manual. Interesting stuff. Some of it, I almost understand. I circle and underline the most useful bits and am planning security numbers that will be easy for both Shirley and I to remember. I have visions of my high powered buggy sweeping over the dunes while I suavely talk on my new phone. Maybe to President Clinton or Oliver Stone. Maybe there'll be a picture In The Thermometer's Shadow by Mike Dougherty iii: of me on "Time Magazine" with a phone in my hand. Time for the fast call. I snap in the warm battery. I push the power button. The machine flashes, "Hello Mike" on its screen. Three dots of a possible five indicate I have a cellular signal. It is time. I dial the number of the General Store, push the red send button, and all the technology of the 20th century goes into action. Shirley answers the phone with a cheerful "General Store, May I help you?" Standing tall and proud with a wide smile in my voice, I say "Hi, Honey, this is the fast call on our new cell phone, I love you," hisss, crackle, sputter and disconnect. Something isn't right. I call on the regu!ar phone. Shirley's circuits are OK. I call from the front yard where I can actually see the cell on Turquoise Mountain. Same thing. Five seconds and then disconnect. Call LA Cell, they call back on the cell phone and the same problem. The cell service says it must be a malfunctioning phone. Certainly couldn't be their fault. I am not a happy techie. Return to Wal-Mart, Scott exchanges the phone and it works swell in the store. I return to Baker, same problem. I talk to others in town. They assure me their phones are working fine. We try them and find they're not. I travel into the desert between here and Shoshone. Someplaces the phone Around Amargosa with Andrea by Andrea Lynn The PTA Halloween Carnival will be held on October 29 this year. There will of course be games, food, and lots of fun. Come in costume. The Amargosa Christian Fellowship is having a Mother/Daughter Brunch Saturday, the first of November. It will start at 9:30 a.m. at the community center. There will be a speaker, songs, brunch and a crafL The craft is easy, so if you are worried about that, don't. Anyone can make it. Please bring $5 each to cover the cost of the craft and brunch. If your morn or daughter is not i close by, adopt one to bring along. OCTOBER Friday October 24: School pictures, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, community center. Tuesday, October 28: Cemetery Board meeting, 1 p.m. at the community center. Wednesday, October 29: PTA Halloween Carnival, 5-8 p.m. at the community center. Thursday, October 30: Town Board meeting, 6 p.m., community center. works and others it doesnt It definitely doesn't work at all of the Dumont Dune sites, where I really need it. I am very unhappy. I wait until the next morning and try to call Scott at Wal-Mart. He isn't in yet. I am steaming. I call LA Cellular. Very nice lady on the phone, Donna Williams. She listens to my tale of woe and says they'll be glad to refund all of my money and cancel the contract and there'll be no charges at all. She gets Scott on the phone and we have a happy three-way chat. Well, maybe I'm not so angry after all. I return to the Barstow Wai-Mart (70 miles) meet with Scott, and he clears the transaction from my credit card and issues a refund receipt. I still don't have a cell phone, but at least I tried and the cell folks did make it right. I'd rather they'd just returned to the service they offered six months ago, but I suppose they're improving it and it'll be years before it works so good again. LA Cellular did send me a bill, but another phone call cancelled it. A simple desert fellow could get confused. And to think 12 years ago I had never had a telephone. What happened to the simple life. Hey, a brand new, refurbished IBM Seleetric II..Mit could only spell. Mortgage Life Insurance 727-7172 f Orlental -" Futons Furniture Gifts A Beautiful... 1997 Oriental Calendar!! & a Letter Opener!! To get your flee 1997 calendar & Oriental Letter Opener, just make a purchase & present this gift couponI! Hurry upll First come first served, no rain checks, please!! MANDARIN IMPORTS Sale! ! 2167 N. Decatur 702-646-1818 J IMCA Dwarf Street Stock $8 Adults Race Starts at 6p.m. Pit gate opens at 3:00p.m. $6 Seniors Admission gate at 4:00p.m. $ 5 Juniors