Thursday, July 2, 2020

Information, how can I help you?

Back when we had a phone, I would call information in Columbus, Ohio, just to hear a voice that sounded like home. I'd ask for the number of the most common name I could conjure, yearning for the predictable clarification questions that would draw out my query into a conversation. I wanted to do this with the research librarian, but the information line is free. 

All you need to know is the area code for the city - Columbus is 614; the information number is 1-800- area code-555-1212. I learned this by watching TV back when we had a television, before my mother put it on the porch, a cold and sharp veto that ended the argument over what channel to watch as quickly as a slap in the face. " You're too selfish for words," my mother hurled at me as she came back in from the porch, never breaking stride on her way to the kitchen. I hadn't opened my mouth since sitting down on the couch after school, and wasn't part of the argument that had irritated her, but I didn't correct her.

My Latin book almost slid off my lap and I grabbed for it, catching it before it could make a sound, the thick textbook spine crashing into her attention and possibly making her reverse her course. I stifled a cheer when she commanded my dad to give the television away or to take it to the dump, she didn't care which, as long as it was out of her sight in the morning.