Recharge Vouchers and Fantasies of Schoolmistresses

I’m doing a piece on speech recognition for the Journal, all the time wrestling with my own voice menu cellphone demons. One message from Hong Kong’s 3 network sends me apopleptic with rage while at the same time kind of turning me on, which tells you more about me than you probably want to know.

I use a prepaid card and I use recharge vouchers (a blessing, at least, that they don’t call them top-up cards, which for some reason I find a horrible expression, as if you’re not really paying ridiculous amounts of money to pay for SMS and voice calls).

Anyway, for some reason my Treo doesn’t like inputting the 16 digit number on each recharge voucher, so I get quite a few error messages, delivered by one, possibly two, female voices. The first part of the message, explaining I have not input the correct number, is schoolmistress-stern — you can almost hear the cane being flexed in the background — while the next, asking me to input the number again, addresses me as if I am a complete imbecile. Which, after hearing this message a few times, I kind of feel I am.

Here it is, in all its MP3 glory. I’m going to make it my ringtone.