A dialog between Eric Albert and Nathaniel Hellerstein
I received my water / sewer bill from Newton today. In the upper right hand corner is a helpful box:
FOR METER REPAIRS
CALL (617) 796-1640
FOR PAYMENT QUESTIONS
CALL (617) 796-1330
FOR IMPERVIOUS QUESTIONS
CALL (617) 796-1661
I tell you, I spent a good two minutes considering what "impervious questions" might mean.
Do my city really give me access to a help line for key philosophical queries? ("What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything if it's *not* 42?")
Was "impervious" a typo? If so, for what?
I was mightily tempted to pick up the phone and call for an explanation. Then I remembered that God had invented the interwebs, and I Googled "Newton impervious questions", which led me to this page:
Alas. It appears that water rates are, in some cases, related to "impervious surfaces."
Now I'm sorry I researched this. I would like to have continued through the day warm in the thought that my city had a truly extraordinary hotline.
Impervious questions? I love it!
This reminds me of a Lewis Carroll autobiographical tale. He was walking down the road, and saw a sign saying "ROMANCEMENTS". Amazed, he entered the store, and saw (to his greater amazement) a working-class man all covered with grime and dust. Lewis Carroll soon learned that the shop was selling Roman Cements.
Impervious questions; questions about water-impervious soil. Romancements; Roman cements. I see in this the meeting of earth and sky. Impervious questions about romancements!