The Other I

December 1, 2010

Real life interferes

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 10:07 pm

I was going to write a post today about why I think the word “selfish” is a misleading description for the process of genetic transmission.  However, life intervened.

In the end it was really only a very small problem but it took about half the day to find that out.

I picked up the phone this morning to call about an oil delivery.  There was no dial tone.  The last time this happened, it was because a telephone engineer working on the main transmission box in the village had crossed wires and somebody else was getting our calls.  The time before that, the wind had blown the wire loose that connected the house to the main pole on the street.  Since we are enduring weather-breaking cold right now here in Britain, my first guess was that the problem was caused by snow or ice.  

I couldn’t call the phone company until my cell phone was charged and I hoped that somehow the problem would solve itself by then.

It didn’t.  So I phoned the phone company.  We were disconnected twice, a particular inconvenience because the only place on our property where we can get a mobile signal is outside, which today was reading 26 degrees.  Fahrenheit  It’s called minus 3 degrees Celsius here in Europe but it’s just as cold.

After finally getting through and pushing all the buttons to be wired through to the right office, giving my name, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, zip code, and telephone number, someone finally asked me what the problem was.

After I told him, he checked to see if any work was being done in the neighbourhood.  No.  He checked to see if there were any reports of any other difficulty in our neighbourhood.  No.  So he told me to disconnect all the phones in the house except one.  I left the cell phone on the stoop outside so we wouldn’t be cut off and disconnected the phones.  Then I returned to the cell phone outside.  We’d been cut off.

So I started over.  At the end of the process the second time, the land line on the single phone now had a signal.  I thanked the technician and hung up.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of this dreary, rather boring, story.  When I reconnected the other phones, the line disappeared.

Ah!  but there was a voice telling me to “hang up and try again.”

I’d been trying to get the phone working for more than two hours.  It wasn’t ice or snow or freezing temperatures;  it wasn’t a careless telephone engineer, work in the neighbourhood, or a broken connection in the loft.

An extension phone in my sewing alcove had been knocked just slightly off its cradle.

My rule of thumb is always to start with the simplest explanation and move up the scale when I’m trying to solve a problem like this.

If I’d remembered to apply it this morning, this post would be about the selfish gene, instead of the less than intelligent one I was using.

Tomorrow –

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