Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don't Wait Until the Line Goes Dead

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Pick up.
Pick up who?
Pick up the phone, damn it! 
A doorbell sounds off in the background.
Or, maybe it was the sound of a honking horn. Or, maybe a knock at the door.
There is a ringing of sorts.
It’s also the ripping and rippling sound of opening something...
It’s Christmas morning, you might think. Tearing open presents?
It’s a party in the parking lot, and car alarms are going off? 
Nope. It’s not that either.
Then, what is it? Some people might wonder. 
It’s communication. 

Consider me old-fashioned, or group me in with the pair of Grumpy Old Men types that I saw while getting my car fixed the other day. Although, I think after I tell you what the conversation went sounded like, you might agree with me. That is, unless, you’ve already closed this window and logged onto Facebook, or responded to a text, or ignored a text... (And yes, I'm just as guilty of this as everyone else). 
“He got rid of the woman who was going to bury him into the ground,” said a a Grumpy Old Man at the place I went to get my car worked on. 
“You have to do that!” said the other. 
“We have to be careful, we’re going to hurt this young lady’s feelings,” said the third. 
No, I’m fine, I thought. “It goes both ways,” I said aloud. “I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, or if it’s a spouse or a friend, we all have one that might bury us into the ground.” 
“What does that mean,” said Grumpy Old Man Number 2. 
Gee, what did I mean? I honestly wasn’t even sure. So, I looked up at Grumpy Old Man Number 1 and he said, “It’s about communication.”

Bingo! Another hot pan came flying at my face. Figuratively, of course. So, I said, without second thought, “Why is it so hard to pick up the phone and call someone? How come we have to text answers to questions that deserve more thought?" 
Grumpy Old Man Number 2 looked at me and said, “The only thing you can do is turn off your phone.” 
WHAT? Seriously. How on Earth would anyone, in this day in age, survive by turning off their phone?
Just then, a young man, close to my age, came into the shop. After going through the few mandatory steps of dropping the car off for work, the man behind the counter, Grumpy Old Man Number 3, asked for a cell phone number.
“I don’t have one,” said the Young Man Without A Cell Phone. Grumpy Old Man Number 3 looked baffled, and I, on the inside thought, I bet he doesn’t have a single distraction and anyone who actually wants to know him knows how to get a hold of him. 
The conversation with the Grumpy Old Men continued for a while after the Young Man Without a Cell Phone left. At one point, I looked down at my own cell phone and wondered, “Who is going to call me?” 
Someone, maybe. Someone other than the hairstylist. Someone other than the pharmacy telling me that my prescription is ready. Someone other than my Mom who calls most of the time anyway. Who knows, maybe I'll call you. 
Pick up the phone, damn it. Don’t wait until the line goes dead.  

UPDATED March 13, 2011: I couldn't help but notice that I listened to Madonna's, "Hung Up," shortly after posting this. It's kind of relevant, isn't it? 


  1. This was the best part of my day today...reading your thoughts and having you put into words what I am at a loss to say. Thanks for giving me these nuggets of Annie Thoughts.

  2. Wow, this was a beautiful piece. Thank you for writing it, Annie!

  3. Thanks to both of you for the comments.

    It's hard to give up technology, but I tend to think that all of it is cheapening my relationships and friendships. As Liz knows, it is more fun to anticipate the unexpected arrival of a package of goodies, a phone call, or a friend on your doorstep with two glasses and a bottle of wine. Thoughts?


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