austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Make me some coffee and I sit down alone

I'm not a fan of talking on the telephone, as it combines things I don't like: the insistence that something be done right now; the inability to make an accurate record should I want one; that calls come when I'm in the middle of something interesting; that they're never for me. My father, who'd come home after work and was therefore very tired and wanted to watch TV (well, he wanted to watch the screaming blowhard idiots passing for news channels; I held the remote firmly on History Channel where we learned that Al Capone's personal car had a police siren in it, so he could blow through traffic) similarly did not want to talk to anyone particularly on the phone.

So we got our first call early. It was the next-door neighbor, who's been having trouble with the same hot-water tap that's been replaced in our house four times now, and involved a long conversation in which my father explained just what to look for (water in unauthorized spots), what parts to consider replacing (all of them), where to get replacements (Lowe's), and how important it is to measure the hole in the counter (critical, as it's a granite counter). My father spent much of the day before next door going through this too, and the neighbor leaves for Florida for the winter in two weeks. The second this involved conversation ended, the phone rang again: it was my other brother, the one in California, sharing a weird thing that happened in the post office.

The moment that was done, the phone rang again, the neighbor again, with more questions about the hot water tap. Meanwhile someone rang my father's cell phone, which was beeping with its ``voice mail waiting'' tone, which I didn't mention because I didn't want to bother him and he'd never hear it anyway. The next call following right off of hanging up the last -- and we were getting pretty agitated at this point -- was from a company hoping to sell hearing aids to my father. My father had barely got away from the couch when the phone rang again. In a moment of whimsy I answered, ``Hello, Grand Hotel,'' which apparently confused whoever was calling enough that they hung up. Still, nobody called for several hours after that.

We are now out of sandwich materials.

Trivia: In 1962 an MIT group founded the Codex Corporation, which would market the first modern modem for mainframe computers, 9600 baud for $23,300. Source: Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System that beat the Casinos and Wall Street, William Poundstone.

Currently Reading: 1941: The Greatest Year In Sports, Mike Vaccaro.

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