Hanging on the telephone

When I phone the Old Man each morning, he usually takes quite a long time to answer. This makes me worried that he may have fallen ill overnight, or may even have died. Sometimes after the phone has rung thirty times or so, I give up, go to do something else, and then call again five or ten minutes later.
When he finally answers the phone and I ask him where he has been, his usual explanation at present is:
“I was sitting on the stairs, having my breakfast.”

[Original posting 6 October 2009]

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