The sound of silence

It’s a frustrating moment. You’re having an important conversation with a friend on the phone, when suddenly the line goes dead, usually at a critical place when they’re just about to tell you that the baby has been born, the stock market has collapsed or that chap in charge of North Korea has decided to volunteer at a food bank and revise his haircut.

Frantic, you yell into the phone. “Hello?” “Hellllllooo?” “Are you there?” you cry, when it’s obvious that they’re not. Perhaps you even shake the phone,...

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