Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Impervious Romancements

Impervious Romancements
A dialog between Eric Albert and Nathaniel Hellerstein

Eric Albert:

I received my water / sewer bill from Newton today. In the upper right hand corner is a helpful box:

CALL (617) 796-1640

CALL (617) 796-1330

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.

Nathaniel Hellerstein:

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!

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