Skype Fur Ball Safari

Now that I have become a domiciled person again, I got my Skype software issues resolved, so I am back in voice communication with Australia, France and several other distant spots on the globe. Being domestically permanent also means I have gotten the large monitor and full size keyboard out of storage; and the external hard drive; and the hand me down printer, scanner, fax. I wouldn't call it an orderly desktop exactly, I just no longer need 1200 mile USB cords.

A few days ago I "participated" in a nearly 80 minute Skype call. Participated means I listened a lot; those who know me will still find an over an hour call to be nearly impossible. I am not a phone person and running it through a computer does not disguise the fact that we are just talking without a handset. The video feed helps but unless you are juggling or stripping that too gets static in about a minute. I wonder what the Skype ratio is between free international calling and video phone sex?

But the point of my meanderings today, should you chose to believe there is one, focuses on the theme of idle hands. I have my Skype setup such that I don't have to sit in front of the computer arrays. I can stand even walk within a limited range or get down on the floor and do my back exercises. But over an hour plus, you can run out of non-distracting things to do while paying attention to the person on the other end of the cyber conversation.

Surfing is much too distracting. I would not tolerate such an extended conversation if I were not truly interesting in the other person and in the content of the exchange; so I am not going to multi-task in any way that distracts my mind. My hands, however, did find a task that grew to the point of . . . well to the point of this post.

First, I noticed the tub of wet wipes that were not fully expended cleaning the apartment for human occupancy. I tugged out one of those and wiped down the big keyboard that had been in storage for over a year. Being careful not to press down on any of the keys that would cause audio blips and pings. That took about a minute but I noticed some black schmutz on the front side of the space bar. Resistant to a gentle wiping, the removal required some pressure to effect a clean space bar, which only revealed a larger build-up of potentially contaminating crud on both the B and N keys. These would be more difficult to reach. Since neither duct tape nor WD-40 would solve this common household crisis, I went for the bent paper clip and spent perhaps another five minutes of the Skype call (you did remember I am on a call right?). About five minutes cleaning keys, only to discover that once the front side of the keys were de-filthed, I only had to lean slightly left or right to see the accumulation of grime on those surface.

I am going to cut the key cleaning soliloquy because I haven't yet gotten to my point for the day. At some point, while I was actually talking I let the paper clip stylus slip between the keys and when I recovered it, I discovered -- furr! Another more digitally directed sweep brought up a loose ball of fuzz the size of a dime.

Yes, my keyboard had cohabitated with not one or two but three cats as far back as Michigan (2006) and without Skype to free me to ponder the pelted possibilities, I had never thought to delve into the depths of the keyboard recesses. It took about fifteen minutes to fish out 97% of the cat fur without being too distracted from the conversation, which naturally took a serious turn at this exact time. Multi-tasking can be such a burden.

So that's my deep introspection for this Saturday morning. Should you need to take a break to ponder the existential aspects of these revelations, I would recommend the following supporting text: