Episode 21: A Rainy Afternoon!

January 18th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted

A Rainy Afternoon!It’s a novel proposition to me, the notion that one might put off something designated as “fun” because it’s taken on a sort of structure that, while putting no food on the table, has become more of a task. I’ve got to embrace that, though, because that’s what’s going on here with “A Rainy Afternoon!” and a deep, persistent part of me is saying “You need to just do it that way until you want to get back to Eltee and friends.”

The good that comes out of this is a whole ‘nother storyline to pursue, more sweet time spent meandering around the dimensions, and a whole new character. Hat-tip to Ed for giving him a name right away.

What else?

Oh … a new phone number is coming. We’re dumping Vonage because, after nearly a year with it, I have to give up. It turns out, now that the matter is on the table, that Al’s been driven mad for the past 10 months on the strength of ending up in the 971 area code, which usually means “cell phone number” to people in Portland, and implies a sort of transience that spooks creditors and confuses almost every system in town designed to collect a phone number, including the one at the incomparable Oasis Cafe, where every call for delivery involves something like:

“Your number?”

“Sure thing. 9 7 1 327blahblahblahblah.”

“O.k. Oh. Wait. 971? *taptaptaptaptaptaptaptap* *taptaptap* o.k. What was that after 971?”

“503” is so entrenched in most peoples’ minds that you can even forego using it in polite company, even if Portland is, technically, a two area code town, because 503 was there first, I guess. “Seven digits, no area code” == “must mean a 503 number.” The incredibly lazy part of my personality rejoiced the day I realized most locals didn’t need the “503” and got sort of impatient with its repetition, perhaps out of lingering resentment that you can’t just dial 7 digits anymore.

Or something. I don’t know. I just know having a 971 number implies a youthful dismissal of a nice, reliable copper pair I’m too old to live up to.

The area code isn’t the worst of it, though. That’s just a nuisance. The real issue is that the quality is barely adequate on most normal house-to-house calls, gets pretty sketchy with most calls involving a cell phone, and goes out the window on conference calls, where the ambient noise from open-air mics and other people talking over each other quickly saturates my DSL connection and introduces a ton of clipping.

I’ve done all the stuff you can do, including activating the little QoS toggle and even futzing around with the microphone/headset I use, but it’s still a distracting PitA that’s never gotten above “mediocre.”

I might have toughed it out, but work is throwing some events at me that’ll involve talking on the phone to several hundred interested readers, and I can’t afford to sound like some tool dialing in from his crappy Skype client and using a shoddy built-in mic on the front of his laptop, which is about what a conference call on Vonage can deteriorate to given enough ambient noise.

And we’ll get a 503 number back. Qwest said so.

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