Writin’ out loud
a column for certain friends
and not uncertain ones,
from Jack Grenard…
…while waiting for our phone line to get
repaired so I can send this to you by email
…The house has been strangely silent since the phone went away. But how lovely for a change. No unwanted inputs. No need to turn anything off, to wonder who is calling and why and for how much.
…So why not just call the phone company’s repair service? I’d have to go to a pay phone but there aren’t any in this area. Even our grocery market’s former phone booth turned into a drinking fountain years ago.
…A friend who winters in Florida complained after my last sending that the type was too small, even though it left this computer as 18-point. In a non-typographic world, 18-point is equivalent to one-quarter inch; there are 72 points to an inch. Learned that in printing class in Jackson Junior High in Detroit and have been abusing it ever since. This column is in 24-point for the visually impaired like me and maybe you.
…Remember when you could reach phone repair by dialing three digits—or punching them into the phone’s keypad? Not with Century Link, our supplier. It’s now a ten-digit number from a company headquartered in Louisiana. Hoo-ray for globalization. With all of the progress in technology, why do we need to supply the last four digits of Jane’s social security number? Why not a thumbprint and retinal scan? And haven’t you been warned about giving out your social security number? Maybe our little phone company wants to check up on Jane, in at least her fifth year of Alzheimer’s disease. She has not used a phone in at least two years.
…More from the trenches: Walking part way around our “block” yesterday (Thursday, 7 March), I came upon shreds and long pieces of telephone wire on the road in front of our home. The appearance was that of what would happen if an angry shark had shaken and bitten its way out of a fish net. On the ground lay three clumps of colorful wires, the right size for use with telephones. A moment of truth, a combined ah-ha! and oh-oh moment, for our phone had not been working all that day. I recalled that a road scraper from the town of Cave Creek had smoothed our unpaved street the day before. Either the scraper’s blade was set too deep or the road’s surface lay too close to the sky. This would be no easy, quick fix for someone.
History is so important in figuring out things. It was about five years ago that the same event happened. Then, our little old phone company hired a contractor to replace the wires. I know: Everyone else uses a cellphone (now one word) to get on the wire from almost anywhere, no immediate metal involved. One hitch: Our town hall staff does not work on Fridays. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying a quiet weekend at home. (Oh, I forgot. After about age 80 we geezers don’t have weekends. If weekends are there at all, they blend unnoticed into our working week.)
…Hope to read cheery notes from you soon. If you want to call by phone*, I suggest you wait a day or two. In this modern rushing world, that should prove to be no problem. The fact that you are reading this message at all means our missing phone line has been replaced and is working. (“The Wichita Wineman is high on the vine.”)
*What IS our phone number? It has been so long… Oh, yes: 1.***-***-****. Don’t dial the periods, okay?