As much as I love Apple and the iPhone, there's no good way to deal with this problem. It was getting highly frustrating. I finally resorted to creating a sound file of several seconds worth of total silence, and then setting that as my default ring tone on my iPhone. My contacts, on the other hand, were assigned actual ringtones. That was a fine compromise, but my problem was that I also have an Apple Watch. There didn't seem to be any way to stop it from notifying me on my wrist any time I had any phone calls, even from strangers. After trying and failing to research a way to turn off my phone functions completely yet still retain continual connectivity to the Internet for text messages and email notifications, I realized I'd have to do something quite drastic by contemporary standards: go dark.
I extended my daily "Do Not Disturb" period from its original 1:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (to prevent any accidental awakenings or disturbances at night or in the early morning), to 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., a total of 16 hours per day that my phone would not be notifying me with sound or vibration that someone had been trying to contact me. I chose 5:00 p.m. as the quitting time because the scammers didn't seem to call after then (I'm guessing because it hadn't proven to be remunerative). By the way, the one and only time they ever left a voice mail, they informed me in a call from "California" and in an Indian accent that a "Treasury enforcement action" was underway. I would be arrested if I didn't return their call immediately and discuss payment. I didn't give them the courtesy of a callback. And I'm still waiting, arms outstretched, for the cuffs to be put on.
|Possible Treasury Agents Hard at Work|
A couple of people very close to me who are classified as "Favorites" still have the power to call me on the phone or to FaceTime and get through 24/7. But their texts, and the texts, phone calls, and emails of everyone else now will land in the appropriate app without any notification coming to me other than what I might see when I go to my computer or phone and light up the screen.
This has weakened the use case for the Apple Watch enormously. I was wearing it every day, and only after I went to Do Not Disturb for 16 hours per day did I realize my perceived need for the Watch had declined drastically. I put back on my old mechanical watch for the first time in a year to see what it would be like. It was fine. So is going without any watch at all.
What has been restored is a sense of what my life was like before I carried a cell phone at nearly all times, which was beginning in about 2007. Back then, if I wanted to know whether I had any email, I went to my computer and turned on the monitor. If I wanted to know if I'd had a phone call, I looked at my answering machine. I wasn't texting then, so texts weren't even an issue. Now I feel much more autonomous and alive despite disconnecting myself a bit from the world and those closest to me. The quiet is exhilarating. The slight bit of jumpiness at the prospect of being interrupted at any moment is gone. In its place is a renewed ability to be aware in the present moment, to see what's before my eyes and hear what's taking place around me. This has been much more than a fair trade.
So thank you, Bangalore Treasury enforcement agents. You've given me a wonderful gift for Christmas, and to reciprocate I promise never again to waste any of your time answering your calls.