Saturday, March 06, 2004

Worm Bonanza

I wandered out to the alley behind our back yard today and found a good-sized heap of dead leaves next to my gate. I know where the leaves came from; my neighbor had cut down some trees and left the trimmings back there for a couple months before someone came along and hauled them off. While the branches were sitting out there, all the leaves dropped to the ground. I grabbed my new collapsible wheelbarrow, which had not been used since it arrived at Christmas (thank you, Annette) because the weather had just been too awful. One load of dead leaves after another went into the wheelbarrow and then to the compost pile.

And boy, did I find some worms.

Big fat nightcrawlers, just hanging out under those leaves waiting for me to come along and find them. Surely the happiest, healthiest worms I've ever seen. I scooped them up and carried them to the nightcrawler holding pen I've set up in the back yard. I'm going to need plenty of worms for the book tour, so I'm gradually adding them to this plastic, dirt-filled tub in the hopes that I'll have plenty of fine specimens at the ready when it's time to go.

Speaking of the book tour, I have officially joined the wireless revolution. Yep, any day now, a little bundle of joy will arrive from Verizon. I don't have a cell phone now because the reception in Eureka is really lousy and besides, I get about one phone call a day and I'm almost always home to receive it. But what about that long, winding mountain road between your house and the Bay Area, you might ask? Don't you need a phone when you're on the road, so you can call for help when your car breaks down?

Ah, there's the rub. The Fallacy of Cell Phone Safety. There's no coverage at all on those long, lonely stretches of road. If my car breaks down there, I'm stuck. And if it breaks down in a more populated area, I can leave the car by the side of the road, walk to McDonald's, and call from a payphone.

I'm not crazy about cell phones, really. They just seem to breed rudeness. I had a contractor come to the house one time to give me a bid for installing a fireplace. He probably got five calls while he was there, and--unbelievable--he actually took all the calls, and left me standing there, waiting for him to finish. So many contractors have lousy customer service skills anyway, and throw a cell phone into the mix and they just become insufferable.

I volunteer at a food bank, and occasionally a client (i.e., a poor person who is there to receive free food) will be talking on their cell phone when it is time for them to meet with me and discuss what kind of food they need. My response is to simply gape in astonishment. That usually gets them off the phone.

But now I have this phone on the way so that I have a way to reach people while I'm on the book tour. I live in constant fear that I'll get stuck in traffic, or that I'll get lost, and I won't make it to a booksigning on time. The cell phone is there to ameliorate the situation should it occur. I got a prepaid plan so I can ditch the evil device after three months and forget I ever owned it.

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