Vail Daily column: Happy Valley priorities |

Vail Daily column: Happy Valley priorities

A lot of you seem to be obsessed with the presidential debates.

Is Trump too over the top, is Bush too related to his brother, is Carson too naive, Fiorina too female, Rubio too Hispanic, Christie too large, Cruz too nuts, yada-yada-yada.

Ignoring that most of those are like asking if the pope is too Catholic, nothing is more important at this moment in Happy Valley than our increasingly crappy cell phone service.

Yep, I said it.

Whether using Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or any of the other fly-by-night scams offering overly complicated deals far too good to be true, we are suffering far too much in relation to what we are paying each month.

Yet it doesn’t matter which conglomerate you fork over your hard-earned cash to, as the biggest reason we all receive the shaft of inconsistent service is the same reason none of us live in the Front Range — we love living in the mountains, not just viewing them from a distance.

But these past few months we’ve been getting the shaft harder than ever, with service completely disappearing for days at a time, and voice messages arriving over a week late and in some cases never arriving at all.

Last week, I received a message from a gentleman asking why I had called him. A quick check on the Verizon website showed my number had never called his, yet somehow he had received a missed call from little ol’ me.

That’s just weird.

And last Saturday, I was driving on the frontage road from the village to a soccer game at Vail Mountain School in East Vail. Talking on my hands-free phone to my future daughter-in-law about their engagement photo shoot, right when she was telling me how much it was going to cost I heard a “click” instead and saw the familiar “No Service” flash across my dashboard screen.

It’s not that I didn’t wish to hear the costs (my buttocks were already clenched in anticipation), but it made me appear like an insensitive future father-in-law living in constant denial of how much this wedding thing is going to cost me before it’s all over next February in the Caribbean.

I mean, what with plane tickets for at least half a dozen car rentals, house rentals, food, booze, flowers —

Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah …

Phone service can literally mean the difference between life and death in an emergency, the make or break of a business deal and, for many of us, the vital line of communication with our kids.

In other words, modern society’s technology has evolved to the point where the vast majority of us are highly dependent upon these damned things, and we need them to work.

And not just part of the time.

My family has been loyal to Verizon for over 20 years and has spent tens of thousands of dollars for service that can disappear for days on end, drop without warning and delay voicemails for weeks.

I don’t believe it is asking too much to care more about cell phone service than patronizing political debates, but I should also point out the wedding is more important than both.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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