Automobile SOS Buttons Are The New Crank Call

Do you have a new car?

Does your car come equipped with one of those “OnStar” or “SOS” buttons inside it? The kind where, if god forbid your car was hanging off an embankment, you would press and scream into so the authorities would come as quickly as possible to save you? The kind that, without actually even having a telephone feature enabled in your car, still calls someone…somewhere, with the simple push of a button?

Mine does. And it’s quickly replaced the crank calls of yesteryear.

Here’s the thing. If you put a button in my car that actually calls up a real person whenever I press it… I’m going to eventually press the damn thing. And if by pushing said button, the person on the other line actually responds “What can I do for you, Mr. Davidson?” whenever I push it… You can bet big money that whenever I’m early to an appointment or looking for some good emotional support, that I’m going to push it.

I mean, doesn’t that make sense to you?

But since such call buttons are, in fact, supposed to be only used in the most dire of situations, it seems that my personal attache has grown a little bit tired of my antics… And has, surprisingly, kept track of each and every time I’ve called so he/she can throw it back into my face at any given time.

Don’t believe me? Check out yesterday’s transcript of my conversation with the disembodied help voice that comes through my stereo speakers when I press the mysterious button on the underside of my car’s rear view mirror:

[I press the button.]

The Voice: “What can I do for you, Mr. Davidson?”
Me: “Hey! How are you doing? Who’s this?”
The Voice: “This is Bradley, Mr. Davidson. Is there something I can do for you? Is everything OK?”
Me: “Well, I have an appointment to go to in a few minutes…”
The Voice: “Are you locked in your car?”
Me: “Haha, no. I’m not locked in my car!”
The Voice: “Are you lost?”
Me: “No, I printed out a Google map before I left. I’m pretty good about getting to where I need to go with plenty of time and I hardly ever get lost.”
The Voice: “So you’re not in any danger or need assistance in any way?”
Me: “Do I have to be in danger? I mean, can’t we just have a chat?”
The Voice: “While you’re sitting in your driveway, you mean?”
Me: “Driveway? I’m going to an appointment.”
The Voice: “Acutally, Mr. Davidson — our GPS shows you’re parked in your driveway, at your residence on file.”

[I debate this New World Order/Big Brother-esque development with serious embarrassment.]

Me: “Did I say I was on my WAY to an appointment? I meant, I was killing time before going to one.”
The Voice: “Killing time like the last…let’s see here…twelve times you’ve pressed the Assistance button for no reason whatsoever?”
Me: “Right. Yeah, um…so — how do I hang this thing up?”
The Voice: “Oh, I’ll do that for you.”

[Click.]

Even the new crank calling is starting to not be so fun anymore.

In other news, I’ll be attending the EMMY’s tonight — so look for me in the audience and a full recap post about the awards, the parties and everything else come tomorrow!

9 comments on “Automobile SOS Buttons Are The New Crank Call

  1. Karl - August 27, 2006 at 12:19 pm -

    Hey, when you see Kristen Bell, do me a favor and give her a big kiss on the mouth – not too much tongue – and tell her it’s from me, OK?

  2. better safe than sorry - August 27, 2006 at 12:30 pm -

    i have a new car but i don’t have either of those features.
    have fun at the emmys, i won’t be watching, cuz the only show i watched last year was the sopranos and i don’t think it deserved to be nominated, it was crap. so if you see the writers, let them know from me, (jane in mississauga), thanks:)

  3. Melissa - August 27, 2006 at 1:10 pm -

    Wow, I love that! I want one! I t could be sooooooo much fun!

    Have fun at the EMMY’s – can I come too??

  4. dgm - August 27, 2006 at 3:33 pm -

    next time you should ask if s/he has prince albert in a can.

    i haven’t watched the emmys (or much tv) in years, but that won’t stop me from making predictions:
    1) susan lucci won’t win, even though erica is the best character on the soaps
    2) “the waltons” will sweep, and michael landon will be pissed
    3) the beloved actor/performer known as “re-run” will dance at half-time

    how exciting that you get to witness all the action. have fun!

  5. Jeff - August 28, 2006 at 6:48 am -

    My car only has the fake plastic filler plug that’s supposed to be an Onstar help button – as if to say “Hey, if you had only spent a little more money on this thing you’d be able to push me right now and someone would come and save your sorry ass – you cheap bastard!”

    I still push it and make fake crank calls though.

  6. James Cooper - August 28, 2006 at 8:59 am -

    Perhaps you could suggest to the SOS button people they start a chat service. Hey, maybe even a party line button right next to the SOS one. Kind of like a hail back to the old CB radio days.

  7. Kathleen - August 28, 2006 at 2:15 pm -

    huh – a new way to drunk dial….from mine to yours.

  8. kartooner - August 28, 2006 at 5:16 pm -

    You know Paul, I would do the same exact thing if I were in your situation. Perhaps I might take it even further and ask the OnStar operators if it were possible to order fast food from their system, you know, to save on time.

    What better way to further expediate the process of waiting in line than to order ahead of time? I don’t know, I’m kind of glad I don’t have these on call emergency services.

  9. jacquie - August 29, 2006 at 7:09 pm -

    Did you have fun at the Emmy’s?

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