My mom and dad went on another cruise. Sinking ships and fires causing sewage overflows in the hallways don’t seem to faze them. Their “it will never happen to me” attitude is commendable since it’s not attached to questions about getting addicted to crack. Could you imagine a bunch of retired folks in Florida replacing early bird dinners with crack parties?
The parents got back on Saturday and my mom left me a long message about all the food they ate and the booze they managed to sneak on board. She called again on Sunday wondering why she hadn’t heard from me since they got back. Geez mom, you total stalker.
I called back today and my dad answered. Instead of him instantly saying, “Hold on. Ellllllllllie,” he said hello and asked what I was doing. Obviously my mom wasn’t home (aka she was out shopping – the only thing my dad ever says she is doing when she isn’t home).
“I’m driving to work.” Duh, I’m always driving when I call so I have an easy excuse to get off the phone. “What are you doing Dad? And where’s Mom?”
“I’m sitting around waiting for your mother. She is shopping.” Both status updates completely unnecessary to confirm, however we were on the phone so I guess it had to be said out loud.
We made a little small talk and within two minutes I heard that sound of an incoming call coming in on my dad’s end. I keep wondering why my parents have call waiting. They pretty much just sit around the house, go to neighborhood social engagements and travel once in awhile. Who are they on the phone with so much and who are they afraid they are going to miss hearing from if they don’t have call waiting?
“Oh, there goes the other line.”
I could hear the panic rising in my father’s voice. Who could it be on the other line? A neighbor inviting my mom to a game of mahjong? A solicitor? Maybe it’s the President!!
“Do you want to get that dad?”
In a speedy voice, “No that’s okay. Well, we are about done anyway, right?” We had spoken for approximately two minutes.
“Sure. Grab that other call. Tell mom to try me later.”
“Okay bye.” Click.
My dad really doesn’t like to talk on the phone much but my mom would have done the same thing. Seriously, why do they have call waiting?
I thought back to growing up when we had maybe two phones in the house, both attached to a wall, well before cordless was invented. We could be in the middle of a family dinner, playing games, having a conversation or whatever. But if the phone rang, everybody stopped what they were doing and someone would rush to the phone with the hope that someone more interesting than whatever they were just doing would be on the other end.
I hate answering the phone. I don’t have my ringer on. I have it set to vibration and that has nothing to do with the fact I keep my phone on the seat by my crotch when driving or buried in my front pocket of my jeans. If I’m alone, sure I’ll answer the phone. But when I’m with people, I don’t need to answer someone else’s call. I check it if I think it has something to do with my kids or I know I have some hot stuff going on at work, but otherwise it can wait.
I guess it’s how my parents have always rolled. They have a cell phone that they only use on trips and it has no voicemail. They pre-pay for minutes. And even though my mom claims she always has it on and within easy access in her purse, she answers it less than 4% of the time when I call her; especially when I’m trying to pick them up at the airport.
This is inconsistent behavior! At home when they have nothing going on but a life of leisure, they have to grab that call or call waiting immediately. On the road when someone really needs them regarding logistics, they become clueless and nearly impossible to reach.
One time my mom left her cell at home and she asked if she could use my iPhone. I gave it to her with no explanation on how it worked just to see what she’d do. She held it in her palm, eyeballing the dark screen. Her pointy crooked finger closed in on the button on the bottom. She managed to touch it without pressing it and then tried again. The screen lit up and she looked startled by the time and date. The screen disappeared. She muttered something and pressed the button again. She pulled the phone closer to her eyes and looked thru the bottoms of her bifocals. The screen went dark.
I stifled a laugh.
She looked at me and I looked away quickly. She pressed the button again and this time immediately poked at the “slide to unlock” arrow. I couldn’t hold it in. I laughed. I grabbed the phone and asked her for the number. I punched it in and told her I was expecting a very important call and to be sure to answer it if anyone rang. She looked panicked during her entire call. She hung up and asked whom I was expecting. I said I might have overdue books at the library. It was the only inane thing I could think of. She said, “Oh right, you don’t want to miss that call.”