Saturday, August 05, 2006

A. W. I. A. 11: Telephone wires.

I was telling the man who claimed to be a doctor about my walk. I was trying to make a little observation about telephone wires--that they never look the way you picture them, and they're actually a mess--and move on, but this brought him up short.

"How so?" he wanted to know.

"None of them are stretched neatly between the poles. There's always some nonsense mixed in."

He raised his eyebrows. "Nonsense?"

"Yes. Black vinyl bladders that look like half-inflated blood-pressure cuffs. Or some horrible box with vicious diagonal ridges on it. Some of the poles have these garbage can-sized cylinders stuck to them like ticks, only with wires all feeding into them. The black boxes have a strangle of wires plugged into them, too. And some of the wires are stripped. And their casings hang down like the limp leftovers of some sick ticker-tape parade."

"Why sick?"

"Because what's there to parade about in the decay of communication?"

The man who claimed to be a doctor was looking at me like what I was saying surprised him. But they knew I had taken a walk. They had seen my route. They would have seen the same telephone wires I saw. The man had either been inadequately briefed or he was a very good actor. Was it possible he did not know any of this already? No. He was a very good actor indeed.



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