Was your first reaction the same as mine, upon reading that Verizon will no longer have the time and weather lines on the phone as of June 1?
"They still do that?"
Apparently, yes. And the Baltimore-Washington area will be the last Verizon area to lose it. Since about 1492, Baltimoreans wondering whether they needed a jacket or an umbrella could call 410 936 1212 and get the answer, and those who wondered whether or not this would be a good time to go get one of them wristwatch things could contact 410 844 1212 and hear, "At the TONE, the time will be SEVEN...fifty SEVEN...and THIRTY seconds."
One wonders how many guys, having spent how many evenings in how many dimly-lit saloons, finally persuaded how many women to write their numbers down on soggy cocktail napkins, only to call the number the next day and hear, "Now the National WEATHER Service forecast for BALTIMORE, Annapolis and vicinity...mostly lonely for you tonight, fella..."
And I will admit to a certain neurotic need to knowing what time it is. I know this is messed up, but I get riled and rankled when someone who is asked for the time responds, "It's about quarter after.." It is always some specific time, and that's why I liked the 410-844-1212 line in years gone by, so I could set my watch by it. Now, with the atomic clock as part of my home weather station, I just check the LCD display atop the Frigidaire and I can set the Timex Ironman to the second.
Admit it: when you were a kid, did you think you were calling a real live lady who had nothing else to do but tell you what time it was? Me too!
For the weather, if you have cable, you're all set. There's WeatherScan, there's The Weather Channel (one-time home of the meteorologist with the greatest "weather guy" name of all time - Flip Spiceland - and of course Chad Myers on CNN, who is apt to throw down his clipboard when things get rough. You can even get one of those weather radios and hear the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - here in our town, just tune to 162.4 mhz, right below the police calls.
And there's always the newspaper's weather forecast, which was probably only three days old when they printed it the other day.
So, I'm sure that Verizon has a clicker counting how many people call their time and weather lines every day, and it's safe to assume that the clicker isn't getting the workout that it used to get! But how cool would it be to ask the phone company to have 410 936 1212 or 410 844 1212 as your home number? Imagine the new friends you could make!