A few weeks ago, I called Ken from work to let him know I was on my way home and to ask if the there was anything I needed to pick up for dinner on the way.
“Hold on,” he said, and I heard the phone clunk on to the table, and then Ken’s footsteps stomping across the floor and into the kitchen. I expected to hear his voice within a minute but instead there was dead space. You have experienced this. You are on the phone and all of a sudden….nothing. Your connection with another person has just entered the black hole.
“Hello? Hello? Ken, are you there?”
At this point, I usually hang up and call back. A crackling sound made me hesitate.
“Ken! Are you there? Forget the refrigerator.”
Dead space but then…more crackling sounds. And something I had never heard before that made me think the line wasn’t disconnected yet: heh-huh-heh-huh-heh-huh. What was that?
The crackling sound was familiar from our old DSL line. We heard it every time it rained. The phone company admitted our telephone lines were old and brittle in our area but there were no plans to have them replaced. No FIOS in the works either. To keep our phone connectivity, we were pretty much forced to sign up for cable which is not much of an improvement because every time we lose electricity, which seems to have become a regular event, we lose our phone connection and have to rely on our cell phones and hope we remembered to have kept them juiced up.
What was causing these strange sounds, yet the line was not yet disconnected? Should I call the cable company? Had someone broken into our house and holding Ken hostage? What was the crackling sound? The heh-huh-heh-huh-heh-huh? It sounded like someone was out of breath.
Like a dog…panting.
Crackle crackle….then I heard Ken’s voice: “Toby! Get back here with that phone!”
I heard rustling, the pounding of human feet on wooden stairs and then:
“Give me that! Diane: Are you still there? YOUR dog grabbed the phone off the table!”
But I could not hear him. I was laughing too hard….