Thursday, March 8, 2012

For Your Chance to Win, Be the Fourth Caller

Indulge me in a little nostalgia - just for a moment.

Remember when you'd call someone - maybe from your party line - and if they were talking to somebody else, you got a busy signal?  If it was important, you'd hang up and try again.  If it wasn't, you'd make a mental note to try a little later.  If it was urgent, you'd click the receiver with one finger and frantically begin to redial with another.  And when I say redial - I mean putting your finger in the little hole and drawing it 'round till it stopped, then letting go of it until it returned to it's original position, at which point you could repeat the process for the next number.  When one was feeling a sense of urgency, it was excruciating.

Little provoked that sense of urgency like a radio contest.  Usually the prize on the line was concert tickets - and we convinced ourselves that winning them would require a combination of luck and skill.  There have been more than a couple movies, made for TV movies, and episodes of TV shows built around the premise.  In a pre-cellphone era, there was a lot of humor to be found in scrambling for pay phones or waiting impatiently for gossiping mothers or sisters to free the line or - well - the list of possibilities is only limited by your imagination.

I remember being livid when technology began to move along - push button phones and automatic redial and speed dial gave the people able to afford such advanced technology a distinct advantage in the ticket-winning arena.  Man!  If they could afford such fancy gadgets, surely they could afford to buy their own damn tickets!  It was grossly unfair.  It didn't stop me from trying though.  

But I never won.

Today, while listening to our local NPR station streaming through my laptop while going about my daily goings on, they announced tickets to a play I remembered having heard about (though, to be honest, I couldn't entirely remember what I'd heard).  On a whim I dialed - and was a little surprised not to hear that old busy signal.  I believe the last time I called a radio station, it was to request something by Elton John from Rock of the Westies.


So it rang - a couple times - and then I heard a friendly man's voice saying, "You wanna see that play?"

"Yeah!  Really?  Yeah."

"Ok.  What's your name?"

I told him.  It, along with a daytime phone number, was all the information he needed.  Tickets would be waiting for me at the door.

I asked him what time the show was.

"Hmmm.  Not sure.  You could probably google it.  Oh - wait - it says here 8:00.  I don't know if that's when it starts or that's when the doors open.  You better google it."

I agreed that I would.

He wished me a good day and I returned the pleasantry.

Then I hung up.

An easy-peasy-nothing-to-it-casual-happens-every-day sort of conversation.

I always thought actually winning tickets to something would provoke a slightly more - well - squealy - response.

But apparently that's all there is to it.

Who knew?

Maybe you knew!  If you've ever won tickets to anything, tell me your story!


angel shrout said...

I have been to several concerts that I have never paid a dime for. I won tickets to see Vince Gill 2x , Alan Jackson, Billy Dean, Randy Travis, Brian White and Joe Diffie. All at different times from different stations, all playing the name the song contest or some variation of it. The times when it helps to be a walking jukebox with a musical memory bank...

mzbehavin said...

I've never gotten anything but a busy signal..... if I actually got as far as speaking to a human, I'm pretty sure I would be incapable of giving them my name... the shock would be that great

Congrats!!!! what's the play???

Katie Gates said...

I've never won tickets to anything, but I remember the busy signal. I remember, too, my Mom dialing a friend and then saying "They're busy" as she hung up two seconds later. A literal kid, I could only wonder how the phone company knew that my Mom's friend and her family were too busy to come to the phone.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I remember dialing the old telephone a million times trying to win things on the radio.... no luck.

And, I remember dialing (push button this time) the phone for 2 full hours to finally order Bruce Springsteen "Born In The USA" concert tickets. THAT was awesome.

Congratulations on the tickets!
xo jj