Butterfield 8 Revisited Example:  

Between the time I started this essay and now, my phone went dead.

Dead as a doornail.

That means that not only could I not call out from any of the phones in my house, I could not log onto my DSL line. I got the cell phone from the car and rung up Pacific Bell. After selecting the requisite seven magic choices (sometimes it is eleven), I was put on hold with "Rites of Spring" on the telemuzac. Danced around the kitchen until I started worrying how much time I had on the battery. Finally, a real person. Who dumped me into another automatic device. This device scheduled me for an appointment with a repair man, although I had made no selections, thinking that three days was too far away.

Three days without any phone! Called Pac Bell back again but could not get through before I had to leave to teach a class. Called again from school--the repair line was out of order.  I wasn't so worried about not being able to call out, or having anyone call in.  More troubling was the fact that an offline computer suggested a condition something like oxygen deprivation.

When I returned from school, I sat in the twilight kitchen, thinking about complexity.  The last glow was still visible on the Saddleback Mountains, sixty miles away; violet shadows crept across the patio, and on my refrigerator, a magnet, "The Scream," by Edvard Munch.

Certainly, life will be simple for three days without a phone.

Butterfield 8 Revisited


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