I hate telephones.
I hate the way they
look. I hate the way they sound (especially
when they're ringing at 2 a.m.). I hate the smell of them, I hate
the feel of
them pressed against my chin, I hate the weight of them in my hand, I
the way they randomly intrude on life.
Ironically, I make my
telephones, nine hours a day/five days a week. I'm really good at
too. But when I get home from work at night, frankly, the very
thing in the world I feel like doing is picking up the phone and making
pleasant chit-chat with The Capital One Lady. (Think about it. If you
boiled steer carcasses at the gelatin factory for a living, nine hours
every day, five days a week, would you
want to come home and immediately fix yourself a nice refreshing bowl
of Jell-O? I don't think so.) In fact the only time I don't
wish that telephones -- those vile, heckling creations of
-- had never been invented in the first place is when I don't
When our ancient Sony
2-Channel began spitting and sputtering and cutting out in earnest,
sometime last fall, we knew it was going to require more than the
quick-fix of a battery change, this time around. We knew we would
probably have to replace the phone altogether. But that was OK. For me,
the process seemed pretty straightforward:
For David, however, any
potential household purchase -- large or small, significant
insignificant, inexpensive or "Your
firstborn or mine?" -- requires
this ridiculously complex, drawn-out process of research and
contemplation and general guy-like futzing around:
- Unplug and disassemble
broken vacuum cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit.
- Spread broken vacuum
cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit parts on newspaper in
middle of kitchen floor.
- Tinker uselessly with
broken vacuum cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit for most of
a Saturday afternoon, then go lay on the bed and play guitar for
- Reassemble broken vacuum
cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit and shove it into corner
of living room.
- Announce that we need a new
vacuum cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit.
- Research vacuum
cleaners/computers/car stereos/toilet valve units on Internet for five
or six months.
- Call Dad and ask for
advice on new vacuum cleaners/computers/car stereos/toilet valve units.
- Write to Better Business
Bureau for advice on purchasing new vacuum cleaners/computers/car
stereos/toilet valve units.
- Lay on bed and play
guitar some more.
- Draw up a detailed list:
"Pros and Cons
of Purchasing New Vacuum Cleaner/Computer/Car Stereo/Toilet Valve Unit."
- Present detailed "Pros
and Cons of Purchasing New Vacuum Cleaner/Computer/Car Stereo/Toilet
Valve Unit" list to murderously
- Go to store.
- Buy new vacuum
cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit.
It's like that with
everything. This time was no exception.
While the phone
continued its descent into total inoperability, David researched and
contemplated and futzed around. Weeks passed. Arteries hardened.
Dynasties rose and fell. By New Years Day, the phone was routinely
dying fifteen seconds into any phone conversation. (Fine when The
Capital One Lady called: not-so-fine when it was long-distance from
TicTac.) I was beginning to think I would have to take matters
own hands and order the damn thing online -- I knew that
research, contemplate, futz around and have a new phone ordered in less
time than it took for David to tune his Rickenbacker -- the
being, of course, that *I* would end up paying
for it -- when a miracle occurred.
David came home on Sunday
carrying a Fry's bag.
"I bought a phone," he said
though the idea had spontaneously occurred to him ("Hey!
I think I'll buy a PHONE today!")
as he was driving down the freeway.
And that was that.
We immediately yanked
the decrepit Sony from the wall and swapped it out with the groovy new
Bell phone. As soon as we had it assembled and plugged it into the wall
socket, however, the new phone began to emit a bloodcurdling,
earsplitting beeping noise ... like a smoke alarm, amplified through a
VOX 7120 Super Stack.
Whut the hell??
"I think that's the
noise it makes when it's charging for the first time," I shouted above
the din. According to the instruction manual, it needed to charge for
fourteen hours before you use it for the first time.
Jesus. Fourteen hours of
We wrapped a couple of
blankets around the shrieking telephone, like new parents swaddling
their collicky baby (although perhaps a tad less affectionately).
helped to muffle the sound a little bit: otherwise no one in our
building would have gotten any sleep that night. (Although I was awake
all night long ANYWAY, straining to see if I could hear the beep-beep-beep
noise through the blankets ... which I could, if I listened hard
enough, which is what I was doing instead of SLEEPING.)
In the morning the phone was still beeping, albeit more slowly and
anemically. We figured we would let it beep itself out all day, while
we were at work, and by the time we got home it would surely be up and
That was the plan,
When we got home, we
unwrapped the blanket and peered anxiously at the phone. It lay there
innocently in its cradle, smiling up at us. The hellacious beeping had
thank god, but the little red *charging* light was still ablaze. Plus
there was no dial tone.
"HOW long is it supposed to
David asked. So we consulted the manual again and
verified that it was, in fact, supposed to be fully operational after
fourteen hours of initial charge. By this point it had been more than
"Let's give it
overnight," we sighed, and we rolled it up in blankets again, just in
case it decided to start up with the beep-beep-beep
This morning --
thirty-six hours after we first plugged it in for recharging -- the
*charging* light was still lit and the phone was still completely
useless. No amount of tweaking, twiddling, rearranging the cord
alignment or consulting the manual seemed to make a bit of difference.
It was deader than
"I think it's
defective," David said sadly. Knowing what a difficult admission this
must be for him to make -- no guy likes to admit that he
wrong vacuum cleaner/computer/car stereo/toilet valve unit/cordless
telephone -- I simply said Yes,
I think you're right and left it
at that. For me, once again, the solution is a no-brainer:
- Go back to store.
- Exchange phone.
Hopefully David will see
it this way also, and there will be a minimum of research and
contemplation and general futzing around. And if he doesn't see
this way, I'm going to "disassemble" his GUITAR
and spread it on newspapers across the middle of the kitchen floor.
throw a rock