Carver, Raymond

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Miksanek, Tony
  • Date of entry: Aug-02-2005


Lloyd moves out of the house after a serious discussion with his wife, Inez. He rents a small place for himself and tries to limit his consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, Lloyd continues to drink three or four bottles of champagne a day. About two weeks later, Inez pays him a visit. She needs to speak to him about money and other things.

That same morning, Lloyd wakes up and realizes his right ear is plugged with wax. He experiences difficulty hearing and trouble with balance. To no avail, Inez attempts to remove the ear wax with a nail file wrapped with tissue. She next instills warm baby oil in Lloyd's ear, and after awhile his hearing returns.

While Inez is still there, she comes across an open bottle of champagne that Lloyd has hidden in the bathroom. Inez decides she will return some time to have a talk with him. After she leaves, Lloyd sits on the sofa and watches television. Although it is the middle of the afternoon, he is wearing pajamas and drinking champagne straight from the bottle.


Lloyd sounds as if he were deaf--to his wife and his troubles--long before his ear became stopped up with wax. The story highlights the problems of alcoholism and communication. It also makes the point that hearing and listening are two separate phenomena. Lloyd's favorite drink is an interesting choice. Champagne is often associated with the words "celebration" and "bubbly," not exactly terms that would accurately describe Lloyd' current status.


Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Place Published

Vintage Contemporaries



Page Count