NSA and Phone Records: Technology is a Two-Way Street

I went to Manhattan for a few days.  As usual, it was a great fun, but I also learned a few things on this trip.  First, always take the train when it is supposed to snow in either place.  Planes were cancelled, and some of the traffic was absurd while it was barely snowing.  Sitting on the train I could watch the idiots creep on the highway as we whizzed past.  If the Acela is booked, take the Northeast Regional in Business Class.  It is only 25 minutes longer and is less crowded than the Acela so you almost always have two seats to yourself facing the correct direction.


Another thing I learned is that you should ALWAYS use your credit card in the taxis in NYC.  Why? Because if you leave something in the taxi, it can be found within minutes.  I was carrying a small roller bag that in my car goes on the seat and on an airplane that is carryon.  In Manhattan, the cabs prefer those in the trunk especially when the rollers are wet from snow.  When I got to my destination, in the confusion of figuring out how to use the new credit card machine, both the cabby and I forgot that I had a suitcase in the trunk.  Suddenly as I was walking into Bergdorf’s I realized I wasn’t pulling the suitcase. After a second of panic, I saw another cabby discharging a fare and asked him if he had any suggestions since I didn’t have the medallion number.  He said to call the credit card company because the new machines – the one I hadn’t seen before and cost me to forget the suitcase – would show the company the driver’s medallion.  Whew!  So I called.  Oops, no it doesn’t until it is posted which takes a day but try calling the cab company said the credit card operator.  So I did.  They switched me to dispatch and voila!

“What are the last four digits of the card you used?” I was asked. When he had that he proceeded to tell me where I was picked up and where I was dropped off. He called the cabbie who then called me and within 30 minutes was at the front door of Bergdorf’s with my suitcase. Happy ending! Yeah for credit cards.

And then it dawned on me.  I had been complaining about NSA keeping phone number records even though from my background I know they don’t listen to any conversation except ones that are targeted for terrorism – and even then, there are not enough employees to listen to all of those much less my calls.  Yet, here I was the beneficiary of the exact technology that allows the phone companies to keep records that the government accesses.  A perfect example of how all of the technology has a two sided issue, but I definitely now lean toward the value of the modern world … and I also am going to put an id tag on even my carry on pieces of luggage!

And, by the way, the 7th floor dining room at Bergdorf has superb food – try the salmon and the croquet monsieur but definitely start with the deviled eggs.  They are as good as my homemade ones.

Image credit: commons.wikipedia.org

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4 Responses to NSA and Phone Records: Technology is a Two-Way Street

  1. Courtney says:

    Love this Meg!

  2. Peg Casullo Hertrich says:

    I always enjoy your wisdom!
    Miss you and Merry Christmas!

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