Tuesday, August 02, 2005

When A. was gone in Serbia we stayed in touch by e-mail, but one I got an e-mail from him telling me to call anytime I felt like it. He had an international cell phone that he'd purchased so he could stay in touch with the office. I was feeling blue about pending unemployment and so I called just to say a quick hello. I must have caught him in a moment of chattiness, or maybe he was just missing me, but after about 5 minutes I said I needed to hang up because, you know I was about to be unemployed and now needed to think about things like long distance charges.

He said, "Don't worry baby, I'll pay for the call. I miss you I. I want to be there for you, let's talk." I'm thinking it can't cost more than a dollar a minute which is the rate that I pay to call London. This is how I rationalized picking up the phone in the first place. Five minutes = five dollars. I can swing that right? However, times have changed in the world of telephone communication. Apparently now you have to pay the long distance carrier in EACH COUNTRY, unless you have an international plan that covers the world.

So yesterday when I got my bill and opened it all the blood drained from my head when I saw that this one forty minute phone call cost $188. 94! Because not only did I get charged the $4.40 a minute tariff rate that currently applies in Serbia Montenegro, there was also an additional charge per minute because I was calling his cell phone! And then there are taxes and surcharges and regulatory fees up the ying yang based on the total call charge of $143.60.

So much for spontaneity. I will never place another international call without first finding out what that country charges. I guess it makes sense that it would be expensive over there considering that their infrastructure had to have been somewhat affected by war.

I feel vaguely guilty, like I should take responsibility for this because I'm like that, but I know that he won't let me pay for it. He will however kvetch and oy and I just hope that he remembers that the last thing he said to me before we hung up on that call was, "I love you."

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