These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, June 09, 2006

it's not a real person, is it?

yesterday afternoon i realized that our phone was working improperly. we have this new package where we will get calling waiting, call forwarding and caller id with our DSL.

i was unsure when it would kick in and decided to call our line from my cell. i pushed the buttons, entered the call and it rang -- in my cell. but no ring on my home phone. i tried again. nothing. it owould simply hang up. i asked a friend from work to call me. same thing.

time was running out and it was almost time for work, but i scrambled through our files and found the phone company records. i called. i haven't dealt with the phone company in ages.

back in texas, having lived in a ranch, phone service would be interrupted frequently. so i've had to call them a lot. but over the past few years. i may have called them to set up service and for no other reason. certainly not for repairs.

i make the call. i realize it's a voice-operated answered service. it tells me it needs my number. i give the male voice (i will call tim) my phone number. tim asks if it's correct and repeats the number. i depress the number one on the key pad.

tim than asks me several other questions. eventually tim gets to the root of the problem. one of the most difficult questions - i had to think fast -- was how to answer the question about what's wrong with the phone. i said i couldn't receive calls. tim's a smart voice. it picked up i was having problems and said "you are in need of repairs." i was elated to hear that.

we continue to narrow the situation down to "unable to receive phone calls." i am ecstatic at this point because i feel my quest has not been in vain. i press on. tim asks me for an addition number they can call me. i give tim my cell number. i feel secure he won't give it out to anyone i wouldn't want calling me. at this point i trust my man tim.

then i hear the words i didn't want to hear. tim tells me "you phone will be repaired by 6 p.m. june 9."

i thought it was a joke. i was holding on thinking tim's boss would come on the line any time and speak with me. in texas when i'd called, the operator would check the line and determine that yes there was a problem. i felt satisfied because another human heard my plea for help and understood i needed assistance. tim wasn't cutting it.

i waited for a moment, hoping tim would say "would you like to speak to an operator?" but the bastard didn't say any such thing. i remained on the line. still nothing. finally, i guess tim got tired of me on the line and said, "thank you,you can hang up now."

my elation vanished. i was unsure if the phone company knew of our situation of not being able to receive phone calls. i ended the call and rushed to get ready for work. all the while, i kept thinking that they didn't know and that tim was playing a big joke on me. i was scared that 6 p.m. would come and no phone service. we'd have to go the weekend without being able to receive calls. then monday i'd have to call again.

last night i kept thinking tim wouldn't deliver the message and we'd be screwed.

buti was wrong. all that worrying was needless.
this morning about 10:30 the phone rang. it was the repairman. he said the work on river ave. (very extensive work that's tearing up a big chunk of the avenue) was the reason. something went wrong while digging or something. however, he said the problem ws fixed.

so please call me. i want to hear your voice now that i can.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


now i wonder who came up with that name for the burger franchise? i love it. in my opinion, they are what a burgers. yummy, greasy burgers.

living up in michigan now for these two-and-a-half years, it's a treat to pop back into texas when we visit and pull into a whataburger. there's nothing like seeing the big red and orange W up front and making your way inside and smelling the only smell that can't be anything else but the inside of a whataburger.

my first memories of the burger joint are even before micky d's. in fact, i don't realy recall eating in a mickey d's until i was a teenager. whataburger was the place to go as a kid, though. my folks would always take us there when we were in alice. i just recently found out that the one in alice is number 5. yep, it was old when we were there are kids. back then it had the huge W up front, rising more than 20 feet and sorta shaping the front of the place.

you walk in and can order any damnable burger. a whataburger regular, a double meat with chese and bacon whataburger, a whataburger jr., a whata-chicken, whata-fries. and if you want to make the fries and drink bigger, you ask for a whata-size or ask them to whata-size the deal for you.

i liked ordering the double meat, cheese and bacon, with lettuce, onions (chopped not sliced as a friend put it recently), pickles and mustard. or course, i can't finish it all. so you pack it up and take it home. put it in the fridge. then eat it cold later. yummy.

or you order an iced tea. it's sweet tea, or course. you can sip at it or drink it down. it's free refills, too. not a bad deal.

recently a friend who has been to whataburgers in ariz. and i started talking about them. he looked up the nearest one to mich. it turns out it's in okla. he mapquested the trip. it would take about 14 hours to get there. it'd be a crazy road trip. all in the name of a whataburger.

i still go into trembling fits of discomfort when i talk of those delicious burgers. right now, i can barely contain myself. i am about to fall of the chair. i feel i will dream i am sitting a whataburger, hot french fries, nicely salted on my left, a large plastic cup of sweetened iced tea on my right. and right in the middle is a large whataburger waiting for me to devour it.

but it is only a dream, nothing more. i will wake up chewing on the pillow case or blanket with a disappointed look on my face.