Thursday, September 18, 2003

In perspective

When you've had a very sad talk bringing very sad news, all these recent and continuing "good" times don't cast such looming shadows. I only picked up the telephone because we were expecting a call from you-fill-in-the-blank for one person or another dealing with one household crisis or another. Generally speaking, we "never" pick up a call. The telephone is strictly for our convenience in making outgoing calls. The ring is almost always turned off and the recording on the ancient answering machine doesn't really encourage the leaving of a message. All it says is "At the tone you may leave your name and number." We make no promises to return a call. Even if a message is left, it's extremely difficult to retrieve. Since the last time someone knocked the machine off the shelf, it has become very temperamental about permitting the message to be heard. The sliding toggle must be at just the right volume and pressed down in just the right way if the machine's to give up its message. We haven't looked for a new one because we suspect that more recent models probably no longer switch between "pulse" and "tone," and of course with the rotary phone there's no "Touch Tone." But we received the news directly and immediately.


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