"Hey Steve, I can't understand you."
"Oh, weel I grrrt thrrris nrrrrrew pho...kurrr."
"No you didn't. You got weesled by some phone salesman. That ain't no new phone."
"No, I said-krrrr, I berrrrrt it'sssss the crack-k-k-k-k in the pho sssss."
"Like I said Steve, I can't understand a word. And that sounds nothing like what you said the first time."
"Hey, marrbe youkrr earses are messssst ooop!"
"Easy Steve. My ears aren't messed. Your phone's what's messed. And if you start turning on me, I'm going to think you's messed too."
"Is that a dog? I didn't know you had a dog."
"I don't have a rrufff. Hey Joe, remember rugrrrk do krrruchchch straggrrl?"
Pretty soon I just gave up trying to understand and started rotating through generic response A B and C to keep the conversation going as smoothly as possible.
"Joe, grphsed to foojellfff."
"Riggle mic smiggle bigs."
"Exactly. Well, good talking to you, got to go."
This is the same courtesy Steve showed me on the back of a scooter in Taiwan. I'm sure he didn't hear a word I said with the wind catching each one and flipping it inside out before it got back to him. But I always left with the fuzzy feeling of having just had a very agreeable conversation.
Hopefully Steve went to get his phone fixed after our chat. Or at least to chew the company out until they promised him all sorts of technical compensation. I'm rooting for you, Steve. It would never do for the most technically savvy guy of our Berhan outfit to be stuck with a phone that transforms him into Chewbacca.
Speaking of cell phones, I finally got one. It's this shiny blue thing that does everything including shave my face and pop popcorn. There's no way of actually discovering all the gimmicks on it, but I enjoy new surprises every day. Besides breaking up ear plaque still lingering from my trip to Thailand, it also plays an Asian jingle whenever I'm feeling nostalgic for Taiwan, vibrates in my hand when I need a hand massage, and tucks me in at night after telling me I'm OK and people like me. I think it's alive. Kind of like Herold Crick's wrist watch in Stranger than Fiction. But I can't get it to palm-read or tell my fortune, so it does have limitations. If you want my number, call somebody you think cool enough to have it. Steve's one. But if you call him, don't complain if you can't tell what language he's speaking, let alone hear the number right.