I needed a new button battery for my travel alarm, so I meandered over to the pharmacy near the corner, and while I was there I got some travel packs of antacids. As I handed over my selections, I thought of saying to the clerk, "Yes, you need a lot of antacids when you eat a battery," but decided not to take the risk that it wouldn't be read as a joke.
Instead, I complimented the store on having something I'd not seen before but badly needed: a sort of pegboard with holes into which you slip your old battery to see what model it is, because the numbers engraved on the battery itself are no help. It determines not just the diameter but the thickness, which hadn't occurred to me and without which I would probably have bought the wrong one.
Once home I received another survey phone call, which went like this:
Them: May I speak to the homeowners, please?
Me: They're not here. They'll never be here.
Them: I don't understand.
Me: Have you ever heard of ... rentals?
This blooming incomprehension of an elementary datum reminds me of the time, three decades or more agone now, that I was in the midst of an early area-code split. We kept getting calls at our new office number from people who couldn't understand why, if they'd dialed the correct (seven-digit) number, the party to whom they were speaking was not the store in another town they'd intended to call. I usually let them stew over this cryptic mystery for a bit before saying "Have you ever heard of ... area codes?"