Saturday, August 29, 2020

I heard a roar in the kitchen of the vacation home, unfamiliar, insistent. Then I saw it was the electric kettle someone had put on and at once the sound became comforting, reassuring, almost like something remembered from childhood. But I don’t drink tea.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

We get spam calls, nothing but spam calls, on our landline that came with our triple-action cable deal that we decided instead of not using, why not buy a vintage Princess phone off eBay and hook it up, wouldn’t that be fun?

So the calls arrive, twice a day sometimes, once a week. Unnervingly erratic. Ring ring ring ring. And of course we don’t answer them but it gives me grim, dumb satisfaction to block the numbers later on my Cable Company App.

Sometimes they leave voicemails. Listen to them before I delete them, out of curiosity but also maybe some old-fashioned sense of obligation. Someone leaves you a message, you listen. Then you delete. You destruct this message within thirty seconds. I get a chill before I listen to them—they come from such a dark place, the realm of international technology abuse. These are people who’d be happy to see you dead in exchange for a tiny fraction of Bitcoin. When I press play I brace myself like I’m about to hear the Monty Python joke that’s so funny it kills anyone who hears it. Then what is it? A screed in Chinese. Some asshole telling me it’s my last chance to respond to charges. The gleeful offer of an effortless job.

Then I click delete.

Monday, August 03, 2020

The roofers traipsed up the stairs. The last one was the boss and he gave a dazed little nod, like Jesus fucking Christ, another job. I pointed up the open hatch and said through my mask, it’s all set, let me know if you need anything, just because I thought I was supposed to say something. And he said OK with a look that made me think I shouldn’t have said anything at all.

I heard their movements up there over the course of the afternoon. Finally he called while I was working and left a message. “We found the source of the problem. You should be all set now.” And I didn’t see them again and I didn’t even hear them leave.