Walking Home From Harvard Square

Like many quirky urban centers, Harvard Square has its own collection of screwballs, nuts, junkies, hustlers and weirdoes, I wouldn’t feel at home with out such people around me. Today, while walking home from Harvard Square, I had the following conversation:

“Are you totally blind?” I heard in a woman’s voice from over my left shoulder.

Yes.” I mumbled as she pulled in and walked beside X-Celerator.

“That’s amazing!” she said a little too jovially.

“Uh huh,” I muttered.

“How long have you been blind?”

“Totally? About fifteen years,” I replied, “How long has it been since your last ECT appointment?” I asked as, indeed, she seemed highly qualified for shock treatments.

“What?” She asked.

“Oh, sorry, I must have been mistaken,” I muttered, wishing she had picked up on my rebuff regarding her mental health but not at all in the mood to suggest that I thought she probably was batshit crazy.

“You’ve got a great dog,” she continued.

“Yeah, I know,” I said.

“You know, the Bible teaches us that dogs help bring us to God,” she stated with a tone of authority.


“Don’t you read the Bible?”

I tried to Think quickly of the most obscure religion I could muster , I replied, “No, I’m a Zoroastrian.”

“What’s that?

“It’s an ancient Persian religion, there aren’t too many of us left. You should look it up in the library.”

“What’s your name,” asked the nut who wouldn’t go away.


“I’m Reggie, good to meet you.”

“Likewise,” I added with as little enthusiasm as possible.

“Chris, do you know I am psychic?”

“If you’re psychic, why did you need to ask my name?

“I didn’t want to invade your privacy,” she stated with certainty. “I think most blind people are psychic too.”

“She didn’t want to invade my privacy but felt entirely comfortable walking up to a complete stranger on the street and asking about his disability. This one is a true winner,” I thought. Shit, if all of us blinks were psychic, I’d have moved to Vegas and become a professional poker player years ago.

“I’m sure you are psychic,” she continued.


“Well, it’s been nice chatting with you,” said Reggie, “I’m off,” she said and then was gone.

The only useful thing this particular person said that made sense was her final words, “I’m off.” No shit, she was off, way off.

— End

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The Meaning of Unlimitted

About a year and a half ago, I jumped on the Apple bandwagon and got the first iPhone to support VoiceOver, the screen reader available on nearly all of their products. I really like the iPhone with VoiceOver and, as I have been evaluating Android lately, I can really see how much effort Apple put in to get the UI for people with vision impairment right.

One of the stipulations, though, was that I switch to AT&T. Previously I had been using a Windows phone on a T-Mobile handset using Mobile Speak Pocket. I was pretty happy with this phone and very happy with T-Mobile.

Alas, I had to switch and bought both the unlimited voice and data plans.

Now, if I try to download anything larger than 20 mb while attached to AT&T 3G, I get an error telling me that the file is too big and that I needed to download it using wifi or by attaching to a Macintosh. What part of the word “unlimited” implies such a limitation?

While in our car, I wanted to tether my MacBook Pro to my iPhone so I could look at the Internet as we drove. I couldn’t figure out how to do this. I called Apple technical support who politely referred me to At&T sales. I was given the option of having to give up my unlimited data package and pay even more for special tethering service. Again, what happened to unlimited? I can tether with my Android phone on Verizon without a special plan at all.

People who buy packages with a specific number of minutes can get some of the minutes back if the call is dropped. As I have unlimited talking, what do I get other than aggravation when calls drop? Recently, I have spent a couple of weeks in San Francisco, a few days in Florida and am back in Cambridge. Due to what I’m told is excessive volume, AT&T drops calls in the middle of conversations all day long in the big cities but worked well in Florida. Having to make six or more calls to complete a single conversation is infuriating but those of us with unlimited packages get nothing in terms of compensation.

So, I ask AT&T, what am I actually getting for your highest priced plans? The only thing that comes without limit is frustration.

— End

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