Monday, October 12, 2009


It's snowing. It's been snowing all day. Steadily. And sticking in some places. We haven't even reached peak foliage yet. Yikes.

I wanted to write a book review today of the fabulous Strength in What Remains, but something about the white stuff coming down prematurely outside (beautiful though it is) makes it hard to focus on the story of a man from Burundi who came to the U.S. seeking asylum. That will be coming soon. Instead, in reference to the way things do tend to, ahem, pile up, let me offer a bit of earned advice: do not make a credit card call from the airport.

I know this. You know this. But we'd just come from Panama, our cell phones were dead, and we'd told the friend who was to pick us up the completely wrong time. The cost of emailing would have been at least $10, and we figured a phone call would be less. Later, when we got the bill for $29.92, we thought perhaps we'd improperly hung up and someone had had a nice long chat with Aunt Marge on our credit afterward. Today, I talked with a very helpful service rep, who told me the bill was correct and broke it down as follows:

3 minute minimum phone charge at $1+/minute: $3.87
operator's fee: $10 and change
airport tax: $3 and change
not-normal-service-provider fee: $6
taxes: $4 (note that the taxes are more than the phone call)
and there was an aditional $2 for something else.
Cost of talking to our friend for 2 minutes: nearly $30. Cell phones look better and better.

So, next time you find yourself in an airport without a cell phone in need of making a call, you'd have better luck asking random strangers if you could borrow their phone. The cleaning woman, for example, later offered me hers without my even asking.

So there you go.

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