Around our house the phone is for quick texts sent to remind that bread and peanut butter are low, that work is running late, that the kids are sick. Sometimes a love note is slipped in among the back and forth messages, an “I love you” between urgent communications. When I pick up the phone I automatically slide out the keypad, prepared to type out messages. When I do have to make a call, say I have to make a doctor’s appointment or schedule a repairman, my heart starts beating a little quicker, my hands tremble. I wonder if there is any way to hand this job over to my husband, but no this falls under the purview of my job title (see: “Titles Change Us”).
The real situation is that I don’t like phones. I have no need for a chat. I rarely feel the urge to reminisce. If I want to share a feeling I wait until my husband gets home, regardless of his feelings on the matter. A couple times a year, inexplicably, I do get the urge to call someone. I pick up the phone, call up a friend, spend time just talking about life, catching up on everything. If you have never been the recipient of an idle call from me than this will answer the question of why not. It is rare and it is not me. More likely, I will sit down here at my desk and write it down, inscribe it in the safest and easiest way I know how, with written words.
However, recently I was shocked when my very flesh and blood, my son asked if he could call his father at work and talk to him. I asked, “why?” He said he wanted to talk to him. I said that was fine, but I’m sure my voice was an octave higher than normal and the ‘fine’ went up at the end, more a question. My daughter is usually the more voluble one. I would have expected this from her…but him.
And when he did get on the phone with my husband, he had things to say. They talked for almost half an hour. He talked about his day, things that were important to him. Sure, my husband prompted him, asked questions, was interested. He held that phone up to his ear most of the time but would get so involved in his conversation that sometimes the phone would slide down to his chin. I would hear my husband asking him to speak up. Still they pushed on, kept talking until finally my husband had to go, get back to work or manage traffic or something along those lines. They said their goodbyes, promising to talk more when he arrived home. I was proud of both of them. My son comes from a long line of phone-a-phobes on my side and maybe just maybe he can overcome it.