Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Life Before Google

Reading those old DOS journals, I find this. 
Kids, here's what life was like Before Google.
                  July 8, 1993
Anna r. on TV 1990s
  Anna opens at the theatre in New Hope,Pennsylvania tonight.  Bet it's hot as hell down there. [Must have been before we air-conditioned the house.]  She plays a psychologist who counsels a talking dog, so of course we want to send flowers.
  I look for the name of the theatre in the flyer she sent us.  It isn't there, but she's at the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.  
  I get out the atlas.  New Hope is near Philadelphia. 
  Buster sits on the atlas.
Buster visiting bathtub
  I check the phone book.  There are 12 area codes for Pennsylvania. 
  I remove Buster from the phone book. Philadelphia's area code is 215.
  Theatres usually have the phone numbers of florists handy, so I call Philadelphia information at 1-215-555-1212 and ask for the phone number of the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.It's 215-862-5880.
  I call 215-862-5880.  I get a tape reminding me that the play opens tonight.
  I call Information again.  They can't look up a number without the name of the florist.  I explain my quest.  They find the New Hope Flower Shop, 215-862-3169.
  I call 215-862-3169.  I get a crackling noise. 
  I think perhaps it's because Buster walked on the phone.
  I call it again.  I get a crackling noise.
     I call it a third time.  I get a dial tone.
  I call the operator and explain my problem.  She calls the number.  She gets a busy signal ­and­ a crackling noise. She tries again, and says it's out of order.
  I call Philadelphia information. They can't read the yellow pages but they'll transfer me to the service people who can.
   The service people find a number in the yellow pages for Tiffany's Florist, 215-862-1200.
  I call 215-862-1200.  "The number you have called, 862-1200, has been disconnected.  Repeat:  the number you called..."
   I consider Flowers by Wire.  But if I can't get through, how could they?  And how would I know in time if they failed?
 I call Philadelphia information and ask to be transferred to a service person.  No, not about a faulty line.  No, not about new service. I want the people who can read the yellow pages.  Reprovingly:   "That is just a courtesy we provide...I'll switch you over."  I get a dial tone.
  I call Philadelphia information again asking for the yellow pages service.  "Certainly, I'll connect you."
  I get a dial tone.
  I call again, pleading not to be cut off.  "Yes, I'll stay with you until you're transferred, but I'll put you on hold, don't get worried."
  I get a silent line.
  I get the yellow pages people!!
  I ask "Have you got time to hear my problem?"  "Yes, if it's not too long."  I summarize the morning so far.  I ask if there's a newspaper in New Hope.  "I can read the yellow pages for you, but there is a service center in New Hope.  Would you like that?" 
 That would be great, perfect. 
 Buster sits on the page I'm taking notes on.
  I call the New Hope center at 215-862-5880.  It's busy.  I put my automatic re-dialer on and it calls every 30 seconds for ten minutes.  Still busy.
  I try the automatic re-dial for another ten minutes.  I decide everything in New Hope has been washed out by a heat wave.
  So much time has elapsed that perhaps the box office is open, so I call the theatre again.  A tape reminds me that the play opens
  I call Philadelphia information.  I'm put right through to the yellow pages.  This time I get all the rest of the New Hope florists: the Pod Shop and Boxwood Gardens.
  Boxwood Gardens sounds like a garden store, so I call the Pod Shop at 215-862-2037.  A young woman answers immediately.  Roses are $60 a dozen.  We settle on assorted summer flowers.  I mention my morning's adventures. She laughs and says "We're all the same florist anyhow."
  Break a leg, Anna!
Watching Cat TV with Norm


  1. It was god awful hot in New Hope that week. That whole month, actually. I remember those flowers. The Festival was housed in a school, very makeshift. The flowers were gorgeous and most welcome.THANK YOU!

  2. I've been greatly entertained by the whole yarn--but I confess my favorite part is the photo of Buster visiting you in the bathtub. I've heard one or two Buster stories already, but the photo confirms that he deserves a place in the Feline Hall of Fame.

  3. Hi Edith - I don't know if you will see this. But your photo of Buster in the bathtub is so cute. When I take a bath Gigi gets very upset. She meows and meows, and purrs and walks back and forth on the edge of the tub. It's like she is trying to warn me that I am in great danger and should Get OUT of that water RIGHT NOW! Once she did fall in! Anyway, great story.

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