My phone has been out for a week, since we had an unexpected (but very welcome) two-and-a-half-inch rain last Thursday. About 95% of the calls I get are from “Out of Area” or “Unavailable,” neither of which I bother to answer. Tomorrow morning I have to stay home to wait for the repair tech, who will fix something in my backyard and restore the dial tone to the system.
The mystery isn’t why I have to be here. I’m sure the phone repair people get tired of trying to get into fenced backyards, and they probably like having someone around who can go inside and check to see if the phone is really working. The mystery is: Why does the DSL line to my computer work when the phone doesn’t? Same cable, same wall jack. I’m not complaining, I’d rather have the Internet than sales calls from Unavailable, but it’s a mystery to me.
About a month ago I ordered six books through Alibris. I wanted to replace my disintegrating copies of John Wyndham’s novels, largely out of print in this country but available in Britain. Mindful of postage and shipping, I carefully ordered them all from one dealer, the Book Depository in the U.K. because (a) they HAD them all, and (b) they had them ALL. I figured I’d get a neat package of six paperback books, and Alibris promised me a very reasonable arrival date.
Several days before the predicted date, the first book arrived, in a small padded envelope. Two more arrived, individually packaged and mailed, on different days later in the week. On the following Monday, the other three books were in my mailbox, in their separate padded envelopes, rubber-banded together by my mail carrier. What’s up with the British postal system? How could six packages possibly be more practical or less expensive than one package? Another mystery.
Several months ago, TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation, which handles road signs among many other highway concerns) erected several of their giant electronic road signs along NASA Parkway, the main drag in my area, which I travel every morning and evening. Signs of this type carry traffic advisories, travel time predictions, Amber Alerts and occasional Zombie Warnings throughout the highway system.
The signs along NASA Parkway sat unlit for months. When some of them finally came on a few weeks ago, they said “Hurricane Season Is Here — Be Prepared.” Trust me, people in southeast Harris County don’t need the highway department to tell us that. Currently they say “Drink Drive Go To Jail.” Good advice, but worth the cost of those signs?
(photo by Jo Anne Banker)