I can see already that if I want to remain relatively sane through this period of immobility and isolation, I'm going to have to stop answering the phone.
Today, for instance, I've received phone calls from a number of recorded voices expressing sincere concern about the state of my car warranty, my credit card debt, and my investment strategy. There's no point in telling them that my car hasn't had a functioning warranty since the Carter administration, my credit card debt has been sent to the time-out box for bad behavior, and my investment strategy has gone the way of the eight-track tape: these voices refuse to engage with the reality of my situation--and even worse, it's impossible to get them to change the subject. It doesn't matter how many scintillating conversational bon mots I toss out there ("How about them Indians? What's the weather like in cubicle-land? Sarah Palin: Sage or Lunatic?"); they stick to the script as if they haven't heard a word I'm saying.
Maybe they'd be happier talking to someone of their own kind. From now on I'll let the answering machine pick up all calls. That way, the recorded voices can converse all day long while I sit here babbling at the plants and the cat and the birds. They don't listen any better than the phone solicitors, but at least they'll let me change the subject.