POTUS, as he signs some documents, is regaling Charlie with Thanksgiving-related gripes and turkey lore, telling him that Bess Truman thought Camp David was dull. Jed hands him the folder and says, "As long as you've got an oven that will go to 320°..." Er...are there a lot of ovens that don't? I mean, I'm no Martha Stewart; I'm not even a Nigella Lawson, but I was under the impression that all standard ovens can operate to at least 500°. He continues, "You take your turkey, which has been soaking overnight in water, salt, coriander..." Someone knocks. Nancy (Jed's assistant/Martin Sheen's daughter, not the NSA advisor) tells him that Toby's there, and asks if she can send him in. Charlie quickly says, "Yes." Jed looks at him questioningly. Charlie, remembering his place, says, "Yeah, well, that's obviously a question for you, sir." Jed: "She was asking me." Charlie says he'll step out. Jed: "Yeah."
Toby comes in, greets Jed, and says, "Before anything else, I was hoping I could impose on you for as much information as you can spare about making a turkey." Chuckle. Jed: "This is some preemptive psychological thing?" Toby admits it is. Jed: "That's not going to work." Toby's mildly disheartened, but sits down and mentions that Jed's going to be seeing in next week's message calendar a notation about a new federal initiative to provide low-cost cell phones to neighbourhood-watch groups. Jed says he's seen the calendar, and he's having some difficulty navigating the colour coding. Toby explains that the colours represent areas: blue is for education, green's for the economy, etc. Jed replies, "Well, there should be a separate colour for things I don't care about." Toby: "Like what?" POTUS replies, "Providing low-cost cell phone service to neighbourhood-watch groups." Toby says it's important. Jed: "Really?" Toby says, "You spot a crime. You going to go to a pay phone?" Well, I would, if I could find one anymore. I don't know about anywhere else, but in Southern Ontario phone booths and pay phones have become about as scarce as people who enjoy turkeys seasoned with anise and coriander. Ever since the advent of cell phones, and as such phones get cheaper and cheaper, pay phones have been gradually disappearing. Yeah, you can still find a bank of them in an airport or train station or maybe at a major subway station, but I remember walking blocks around Yorkville (one of Toronto's snootier shopping areas, dense with high-rise office buildings and plenty of stores and restaurants) in a nearly vain search for a pay phone until I remembered that there was a pay phone outside the third-floor washroom of a big-box bookstore. That was pretty much the last straw, and Professor Frink got me a cell phone at the next gift-giving opportunity. Also, I've read complaints from residents of less privileged neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area that the pay phones in their areas don't work after dark; apparently some of them are timed to work only during daylight hours so that drug dealers can't avail themselves of the pay phones. (Don't drug deals happen during the day, too? ["Don't drug dealers have cell phones?" -- Wing Chun]) I guess people in those neighbourhoods had just better hope they don't have any pay phone-related emergencies. God knows those hardly ever come up in higher-crime areas. Anyway. That's Nurseable Grudge #137.