Sunday, May 1, 2011

Who's calling?

I really fucking hate the damn telephone.  I know I say it all the time, but it's true.   While playing kitchen beautician yesterday and slapping some hair color on a friend of mine, I actually said, "I like you because you don't ever call me."    Now, this is acceptable to say because she hates the phone as well, not to mention that she is intelligent enough to know that her lack of ringing me is but a factor in my affection for her as a person.    Later, I remembered the statement, chuckled and then pondered if my dislike was actually as severe as I make it out to be.  It is.

This morning, I woke up and realized I had not phoned my mother in over 48 hours, oops.  I went ahead and bit the bullet, dialed the number and hoped that she would rush me off the phone.   It's not that I don't have any interest in communicating with her, but I really despise chit chat.  I like to say what needs to be said and then hang up.  It inevitably causes conflict between us, it's a familiar dance at this point.

Mom:  You didn't call me yesterday.
Me:  I'm sorry, I forgot.  You could have called me as well, though.  
Mom:  Well, you always seem too busy to speak to me, and I don't like being a burden, you know.  
Me:  You're never a burden, I just don't like to talk on the phone a long time.  You know that, it's nothing personal at all.  
Mom: As I said, it comes across loud and clear in your voice that you don't want to speak to me.
Me:  I love speaking to you, I just hate the phone.  Was there something in particular you wanted to tell me about yesterday?
Mom:  Don't worry, I don't want to bother you, though I did receive news from the family back home.  It can wait, I know you're busy and have no time to speak to me. 
 Me:  Of course I have time to hear news from home.   Please, go ahead.  

(Now would be a good time to tell you that it's futile for me to try to get a word in edgewise during these talks, I don't bother trying much anymore.)

She tells me how she spoke to my aunt and they were discussing in great detail what a mess the country is in at the moment (Argentina)…. not sure how that is news, seeing as how it's been a mess since the day she was born.      Elapsed time:  17 min.

Then she went on to discuss IN GREAT DETAIL how President Kirchner is a crazy bitch.  (Again, not news.   Google her image, she's got crazy written all over her.)   I reply with saying that I thought the prerequisite to being a President in that country is to be insane. Even though I'm agreeing with a point SHE made, it is not well received and I'm an asshole all of the sudden.  (I just can't win. That's what I get for trying to participate in the discussion, I may as well shut up.)   I look at my watch and realize that I'm still waiting for important family information to make itself known….  not holding my breath at this point.  I've been duped.  Well played, Mom.
Elapsed time: 32 min. (on top of the previous bit of time)

Mom:  Why aren't you saying anything?
Me:  I'm listening to you, Mom.  (I do not mention that my contribution to the conversation was not appreciated.)
Mom:  I always get the feeling that I'm bothering you, you are so short on the telephone and I don't ever know why.   Always trying to rush me off the telephone because you're busy.  
Me:  I'm not rushing you,  we've been on the phone for almost fifty minutes.  I'm listening to what you're telling me.
Mom:  Well, it's obvious you're busy and put out with me, you aren't participating in this conversation at all.   I'll speak with you when you have more time. 

1.  Believe it or not, Mom is not crazy… she's actually usually very perceptive, insightful and awesome.
2.  Mom is delightful to talk to in person and I'm always beyond happy to spend face time with her.
3.  Mom is not the needy type, unless it involves telephones.
4.  I suspect she doesn't believe I really don't like the phone, it's the only logical explanation.

I usually hang up feeling fifty percent relieved and fifty percent total jerk… 'jerk' because I know how it feels to get your feelings hurt by your kid who doesn't seem to want to talk to you.  I don't know why it's so much work for me, but it's a fact that I literally cringe when that damn phone rings and that those fifty minutes feel like ten hours of my life I will never get back.

I love my mother very much and am painfully aware that she will not always be a phone call away.   I also know that when she's not around, I will pine for these pointless and tiresome conversations, which is why I willingly repeat this scenario almost every day.    So if you ring me up and I never answer, stop giving me shit.  I'm probably on the other line (with you know who).  Just send me an email or text.


  1. The one thing I love having a mobile for is caller ID, I NEVER answer my landline because it doesn't and I feel exactly the same about trivial chat, I tell people if you have nothing to say then say nothing and if you really want to talk to me lets do it over a coffee.

    My mum would call me and tell me what she'd had for dinner, bought in asda for tomorrow and what she watched on tv, but she's not here any more and I still feel guilty for all the times I didn't answer as I knew it was her and couldn't be arsed to listen to 45 mins of crap.

    Ah well.
    Glad to see you back and I hope your feeling better :)

  2. Thanks. Feeling sorry for myself was making me tired, boring and I was looking ugly 24/7 from all the lack of sleep and crying, so it was incentive to get my act together and just fake it until things are better.

  3. I know what you mean (well a bit) shed a few tears myself last few days over son leaving, (admittedly it's a good thing as opposed to whatever happened to you as I get you were devasted), but in the end, yeah, I was boring myself - put all that energy into sorting my house out instead. Am now living in a clutter free shiny (but very quiet) house.

    Might look out for a toyboy lover to fill the space lol.

  4. I hate the phone too. I am NOT one of those people who has to answer it, I always consider NOT answering it, no matter who is calling. I don't answer the phone too often, and it's pretty well known that you it is very likely you will get my voicemail if you call me. I love talking in person, and I do feel guilty about neglecting my family with phone calls, but I can't stand it. It's nice to know that there is someone else who feels the same way I do. I totally get what you mean about this.