Tag Archives: phone

1943. A train to catch

I was scurrying to the train station to catch my usual morning transport. I was running late because I had spilt coffee on my trousers (thank goodness it had cooled) and had to get changed. In my haste I forgot to take my phone out of the wet trouser pocket, so I didn’t know by how much I was running late.

The clock on the town tower was renowned for its unreliability. Going by what it said I had five minutes to get to the station to get on the train to take me to work. I work as a bank manager, and today the big boss is coming for an important meeting. VERY important, he had said on the phone.

Only four minutes to go. I thought I’d start to run; actually trot along, as I didn’t want to be all sweaty during the VERY important meeting.

Two minutes to go. I simply cannot afford to miss that train. What the heck! I’ll have to run, sweaty or not! I can explain to the boss why I’m perspiring so profusely. And…

Made it! Phew! That was close! I got a seat too. No sooner had I sat than the doors closed and the train began to noiselessly slide away from the station.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a voice over the intercom. “Welcome to the non-stop day trip to the capital city. Refreshments are available throughout the trip in the cafeteria carriage.”

I was on the wrong train. It was going the wrong way and it would take all day to get there.

1918. Some things count

Bart was in love. He’d spend the time between interminably long phone calls mooching around and texting, as those in love sometimes do. He would wait, and then… The phone was never answered before with such speed lightning.

Donna was her name. They were both studying Mathematics at university. They shared the same mathematical problems on the phone. They shared the same solutions. Mathematics was never so superficial.

It was like life; they invented problems so they could solve them together. Things went swimmingly until Donna suggested:

f(x)=a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞▒(a_n cos⁡〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin⁡〖nπx/L〗 )

In response, last Thursday, Bart came up with:

cos⁡α+cos⁡β=2 cos⁡〖1/2 (α+β)〗 cos⁡〖1/2 (α-β)〗

Quite frankly Donna had had enough. She was fed up to the eyeballs. She called the whole thing off.

1794. Peeling potatoes

Caitlin was halfway through peeling the potatoes for dinner when the phone rang. It was Uncle Philip phoning to say that Great Aunt Philomena had died. Caitlin hardly knew her. Once or twice when she was a child her parents had visited Great Aunt Philomena and Caitlin was each time ordered to “behave like a lady”. Even back then Great Aunt Philomena was as proper as one could get, and now she was dead. It was no great shakes. Caitlin went back to peeling the potatoes.

The announcement of Philomena’s death brought back some vivid memories for Caitlin. The spinster aunt would sit in a huge armchair while Caitlin’s parents sat on the sofa and made small talk. Two or three times throughout the visit, Great Aunt Philomena would rise from her chair and grandly announce, “I shall be back shortly. It’s time for a little Coca Cola.” She would depart the room only to return a few minutes later smelling of gin.

Her death was five years ago. Throughout those five years, every time Caitlin peeled potatoes for dinner she thought of Great Aunt Philomena. That phone call had associated Philomena with potato peeling. Forever, it seems. Why can’t I think of something else when I peel potatoes, thought Caitlin? The association remained. There was no escaping it. Great Aunt Philomena and potatoes were inextricably bound. It was an existential annoyance. There was only one thing for it: Caitlin would have to give up peeling potatoes.

Of course, Caitlin peeled the potatoes only to be useful and “ordinary”. She didn’t need to do the peeling. These days one of the scullery maids does it. It helps that Great Aunt Philomena left Caitlin her mansion and all her millions.

1778. A wallow in luxury

Charles was sent by his boss on an important mission. He would get paid extra, but the negotiations were going to be tough. Imagine getting paid to pamper oneself in a luxurious hotel in Dubai! Spas! Food! Wine! Swimming pool! What a shame it was, thought Charles even before he left for Dubai, that the negotiations would never succeed!

Of course he would stay in the hotel and take advantage of every luxury. The negotiations could go to hell. He was in it for the enjoyment, provided he played his cards right. He had clawed his way up, not without effort, to be number two in the company. Life was a breeze. The boss was weak and ineffective. Charles would take over the company management soon enough.

And play his cards right in Dubai he did! Twice the boss had phoned and twice Charles assured him that things were “tough”. The third time the boss phoned, Charles was wallowing in a luxury soapy bath. The phone slipped through his hand into the soapy suds.

“We seemed to have been cut off,” said Charles later.

“No we didn’t,” said the boss, who had been suspicious of Charles for a time. “I was in the room next door.”

1761. Off the phone

Peter reckoned he picked up the coronavirus from the telephone while he was speaking to his grandmother. She had the coronavirus and he talked to her on the landline. She always phoned on the landline even though he had his own phone.

And now he had caught the virus off the phone. His mother had said, “Don’t be silly. You can’t catch the virus by talking to grandma on the phone. Look at me! I phone grandma every morning and I’m perfectly well. Although I’ve had a slightly sore throat these last few days.”

At grandma’s funeral, Peter’s mother gave the coronavirus to every mourner she kissed – whether she had put droplets into their telephone receiver or not.

1653. Why did I answer the phone that morning?

(Thanks to Yvonne for the opening sentence).

Why did I answer the phone that morning? I had been vacuuming the house. When the phone rang I had to turn the vacuum cleaner off, and step over the vacuum cleaner’s cords and tubes to reach the phone.

Was I interested in doing a survey? It would only take a few minutes and I would go into the draw to win a trip for two to Hawaii.

Since I’d gone to all that trouble of turning off the vacuum cleaner and stepping over it, I thought I might as well. So several questions later (the questions were all about what brand of soft drink is imbibed in the household, so I told them a lie; coca cola I said because it was the only brand I could think of) I was in the draw to win a trip for two to Hawaii.

And win it I did! Wow! I had never won a thing before and now hubby and I were off to Hawaii!

That’s when the trouble started. Our son drove us to the airport, and on the way home (unbeknown to us) he crashed into a wall, wrote off his car, and broke both legs. Not long after take-off we were diverted. For two days we were stuck in a foreign airport. The airline people were most unhelpful. We had to pay for accommodation and meals instead of being in Hawaii all expenses paid. When eventually we did arrive in Hawaii the hotel was booked out. Since we hadn’t arrived on the appropriate day the hotel had presumed we were not going to turn up and booked other visitors into what was meant to be our room. The hotel wouldn’t give a refund because it was part of a promotion and no money had changed hands. So we had to pay for a further three days accommodation and food elsewhere.

We’re back home now from our all-expenses paid vacation. I’ve never been so happy to be doing housework. At present I’m vacuuming and…

Excuse me. That’ll be the phone.

1537: The trials of Andrea

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Lindsey at Itching for Hitching. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, click here for a peek as to what’s what.)

She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. This was the third time this afternoon that Andrea’s husband, Thomas, had phoned the Waste Management Company and let them have it.

“Why was my trash taken away late last Wednesday? You call yourself a garbologist?”

“Do you think you can take the trash away when you like? Wednesday morning is the time stipulated that the trash will be picked up at the gate. I don’t care if it was Christmas Day – it was Wednesday.”

“The guy driving the trash truck needs a bomb under him. I wished him good morning and he grunted at me like I was a.. a pig… Where’s the customer service?”

“Don’t you think, dear,” suggested Andrea to Thomas once he had put the phone down, “don’t you think you could just let these people get on with their job? They seem to do it reliably enough.”

“Rubbish,” said Thomas. “I want better service than that.”

When Thomas dialled the number a fourth time, Andrea had had enough.

“I’m going into town,” she said, “to the library. I shall return once all this nonsense is over.”

“You don’t understand,” said Thomas.

Andrea drove into town. What a trial the trash collection company saga had become. She sighed deeply and wondered if this would ever stop. It had been going on ever since her husband had bought the Waste Management Company almost a month ago.

1454. An utter waste of time

Maisie taught her four year old granddaughter, Belladona, how to dial the telephone in an emergency.

“You never know when she might need it,” said Maisie.

“It’s a waste of time, Mum,” said Annette, Maisie’s daughter, Belladonna’s mother. “She’s too young, and you’re just scaring the living daylights out of her. As I say, it’s a waste of time. An utter waste of time.”

Maisie went ahead and taught Belladonna anyway. It was especially important, Maisie thought, because she was to look after Belladonna for two weeks while Annette attended a course at the university.

On the second day of Belladonna’s stay, Maisie decided to vacuum the house. She plugged in the vacuum cleaner. There was a faulty switch. Maisie was electrocuted. Belladonna found her grandmother laying on the floor still clutching the live cord. Belladonna touched her dead grandmother. WHAM!

Yes indeed, teaching Belladonna to dial the emergency number turned out to be an utter waste of time.

1354. Errol’s busy day

What a busy day it was for Errol! Not only had he almost completed editing the report of 411 pages, but the firm’s secretary was ill and Errol was mandated to answer the telephone. All he had left to do was to print off page 29 of the report and amend it and it was done, but once again the phone went. This time however it was the boss. Would Errol come to his office please?

Blow it, thought Errol. He pressed the button on the computer to print page 29, and set off for the boss’s office. The boss didn’t want him for much; just a silly little niggly thing about where did the secretary keep the stamps? However, Errol was in the boss’s office for about half an hour while the boss talked about everything except work: the football results, the weather, the secretary’s illness…

When Errol returned to his office it was a mess. He had told the computer not to print page 29, but to print 29 copies of the 411 pages.

1156. Free phone

It’s a marvellous thing, modern technology. The Government gave everyone with dementia a free phone.

They spend all day phoning each other up to tell each other the same thing.
They spend all day phoning each other up to tell each other the same thing.
They spend all day phoning each other up to tell each other the same thing.
They spend all day phoning each other up to tell each other the same thing.
They spend all day phoning each other up to tell each other the same thing.

I’m talking about the Government, not those with dementia.