The other 1 percent -- or 10 percent -- of my calls are made at work, where I use the same kind of office phone used in every other office in America. But today, at my parents' house, I picked up the cordless phone from its base, pressed the "talk" button to wake it up, and dialed the number for Dave's house. Then, either out of habit from all the cell phone use, or because it seemed like it had to be done, I pressed the "talk" button again. You know, to "send" it. When I put the phone up to my ear, I heard nothing.
So I tried again. Same thing. I decided maybe I should check with Mom.
"You just press 'talk' and dial the number," she said.
"Oh. So I don't have to press 'talk' again after that?"
As I press "redial" and then raise the phone to my ear, I realize that Dave must've heard his phone ring twice now, but when he picked it up -- nothing. No one there. Dial tone.
He answers on the first ring. I explain what had been happening. He cracked up for at least half a minute.
I feel a bit old now. There was once a time when calling Dave meant pressing just seven digits -- no area code required. I even remember being at my aunt and uncle's in Maine and needing to press only five to call the neighbor down the road. It was like the KL5 exchange from old movies or TV shows -- or maybe just from The Simpsons.
It's not as old as I felt several years ago at my barber shop. As I sat in the chair, a boy who was waiting came up to the barber and asked if he could use the phone. When told it was no problem, he reached for the receiver and was about to dial, but then couldn't figure out where the buttons were. The barber had a rotary phone. The kid had never seen such a thing. This had to be early -- no later than the middle -- in the 90s.
Today, Casey and I began our 11-day, seven-houses-in-seven-cities holiday road trip. Seriously, we should have MapQuest (or Google Maps) or Hess or someone sponsor us. I'll slap a magnetic Hess or BP logo (not Exxon -- no way) on my car now through New Year's Day.
We left the house this morning, packing up the car and the cats and driving an hour to my parents'. An afternoon of holiday cheer with family friends while I "work" from the house, monitoring the site and watching for any news. I've got another shift on Thursday, but other than that, I'm free and clear this week.
Tomorrow, we head three hours west to Harrisburg for about 24 hours with Casey's grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins. Or whoever we see. From there, it's on to her mom's on Christmas eve, then her dad's on Christmas. On the 27th, it's back to mom's for a night before spending Friday in Pittsburgh and staying over at her sister's house. On the 29th, we'll make the long drive back home.
But not back to my parents, where the cats are spending this break. It'll be just a one-night stopover at home to make sure it's still standing, and then it's up to Boston on the 30th. New Year's, for I think the fourth straight year, will be at Bryan's. But because we both have to be at work at 10 a.m. on January 2, this will be the first time we leave on New Year's Day. If past trends hold up this year, that could be a difficult task. We'll see.
And we'll see how much I get to log this trip with updates. There won't be one tomorrow, that's for sure. No internet -- wireless or otherwise -- at Grandma's.