A hysterical female voice was on the end of the telephone line that, because of her high-pitched alarmed tone, I couldn’t make out who it was. I passed the receiver over to my wife to see if she could decipher the caller’s problem.
I miss the old original phones. The ones with the huge round dialling face. It was an effort trying to ring an 8 or a 9 number on one of those cumbersome machines. Your pointer would trail round the track with a NASCAR’s differential until it reached the end of the line. Then you let go and the wheel spun back. Pure bliss.
“It’s Rachel. One of her CD’s is jumping.”
Everybody believed the hype: CD’s are indestructible. Give me a video tape any day.
“Gimme the phone,” I was given the phone, “Listen Rachel, calm down a minute, it’ll be OK. Now listen carefully. Get a nice, clean, smooth cloth and carefully wipe the disc. Wipe it from the origin to-” Rachel barked at me. “The origin is the centre of the disc, the bit with the hole. So wipe it from the ori- …from the middle and gently stroke to the edge of the disc in a straight line. Under no circumstances use a circular motion.”
I heard Rachel taking deep breaths as she composed herself. I waited until she cleaned the sick disc, all the while softly helping her to relax. Time came when she had to insert the CD into the slot where lurked the laser. I heard the door slam shut followed by a whirring, loading sound. Rachel reached out with her long fingernails and pressed play.