Friday, November 21, 2008


One advantage I think to living alone is the opportunity to appreciate silence. Other than briefly on Monday and Tuesday mornings and during broadcasts of both the British and U.S. versions of "Antiques Roadshow" I do not watch television. Nor do I listen to the radio as a rule. But this was one of those mornings when I did both.

My ISP, as it seems to do once a year, decided to change the telephone number the computer must dial to access the Internet, where I do spend a good deal of time, in the antiquated slow-moving way I prefer. Difficulty was, the new number did not work; nor did the old one when I went back to it.

So I could not arise at 6 and peruse The Des Moines Register's obituaries, then move on to MSNBC to reassure myself that nothing of import had been blown up overnight. Since there is a radio here beside my desk, I decided to turn that on --- to the NPR station it is set at.

That was distressing enough. The same bad-news economy stories repeated over and over with overkill analysis following; then a call-in show of some sort. Finally at 8 when the technical-support people arrived at their office, we solved the minor problem and I was back online, touring silently a nice selection of Anglican churches in Suffolk.

Then came a season in hell --- at Lyons' Toyota-Dodge, where it was necessary to go for a long overdue oil change. Lyons' service department is wonderful. You drive up, the door opens, your vehicle is taken away and within an hour all is said and done and you're on your way.

But during the waiting period, it's necessary to sit in the waiting room with a large television set apparently intended to keep the natives from getting restless while the mechanics are at work. This morning it was tuned loudly to a news channel: The same bad-news economy stories I'd heard earlier, pontification about Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and an especially annoying segment repeated four times during 40 minutes about a verbal tiff between the odious Rosie O'Donnell and Barbara Walters, equally odious perhaps but with better manners.

I've rarely been so glad to see the guy bearing my bill and keys come through the door from the service department so I could pay up and drive away --- in silence.

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