I spent this afternoon at my grandmother's house looking for a rotary phone. Never mind why I need a rotary phone--I didn't find one, not because there wasn't one there, but because I was looking in Virginia's house, where the tenets of String Theory apply more perceptibly and dependably than they do anywhere else in the Universe. I'm serious--they should send physicists out there to study her closets. If you know any physicists, I'm happy to give them her address.
When I got to Virginia's house, there was a fancy Volvo sitting in her driveway, which ended up belonging to a lady from the board of the public library who was interviewing her about the olden days. Virginia is 91 and has lived in this town since 1945 or something, so people are all the time coming by to ask her about the days when Highway 129 was a dirt track and she kept a cow in the well house and milked it every morning before sun-up.
As I was saying, I wanted a rotary phone, which I had called in advance to ask her about, and she said "yes, there are two in a plastic bag on the top shelf of my closet," which I took to be a good sign, but not conclusive. Virginia is sharp, but she is also inscrutable like the sphinx; I have known her for 31 years and have learned to get my hopes up about exactly nothing. The reason for this is twofold: 1. her house is a wormhole, and 2. she is inscrutable like a sphinx. And here we start with the circular reasoning. Let me stop there and let the remainder of my story serve as an example:
I got to her house and Virginia was having a great time because the lady from the library was recording everything she said, which she took to be her cue to talk about black people: pros and cons. Then Virginia repeated her allegation that there were two rotary phones on the shelf in her closet, and then she began to describe the phones and what color the plastic bag was, etc. And while the library lady chronicled all of this, I felt the probability of my finding the phones drain out of the room with something like a low sucking noise. It's just something I have a feeling for. And sure enough, when I got to the closet, I found the entire thing to be jammed to the top shelf with antique bedding in Hefty bags. On the top shelf, I found the pelt of a small fox, some sort of firearm, a garment bag full of table cloths and a tape recorder.
I spent the rest of the hour looking for the phones, but they are somewhere else now. I hope the people in whatever parallel universe they've ended up in can find a use for them.