The Phone Call

After supper the other evening, Sean and AD went outside to play and do boy stuff while I stayed inside my nice quiet people-free house where there was no sound to be heard save the soothing hum of my dishwasher.

Awhile back we read the Ralph and The Motorcycle series and since then my fabulous six-year-old has taken to making motorcycle/motorboat noises anytime he is in motion, which is anytime he is awake.  It is darling. It is adorable. I love it.  But sometimes I just want it to stop.

So then, I sat stock still in my chair and relished my sound-effects free house for a few minutes before getting busy on a project.

Okay, since you asked, I’ll tell you.

I am working on Sean’s kindergarten graduation slide show and I think I have found what I was born to do – direct!  It has been way fun putting this thing together and oh how I wish I could show it to you.  You would say, “AM you are some sort of Spielberg!” And I would look down shyly and kick the dirt and say “Aw shucks, you think?”

And then you’d say, “No not really, I was just being nice.” And then I’d say, “Oh.” And we’d leave it at that but I’d make you watch it until your eyes glazed over and drool started leaking out of the corner of your mouth.

At any rate, I was very excited to get back to work on my little project when the phone rang.  I cursed at the phone in my head because I did not want to hear the phone ring nor did I want to speak to anyone unless it was the Publishers Clearing House people or perhaps the HGTV Dream Home people.  Since I have signed up for neither, that was unlikely.  So I let it ring a few times until guilt got the better of me and I answered it.  AD can completely ignore a ringing phone. I cannot.  What if someone was in the Cash Cab and they needed me to help them answer a question?  Mr. Google and I are here for you!

So I answered the phone.  The person on the other end asked how I was doing and what was going on, but I wasn’t really quite sure who it was.  So I kind of kept playing along with evasive and vague comments hoping for some revealing context that would solve the mystery.  In person this is easier because you can nod knowingly but you can’t really do that on the phone, you have to say something.  Finally I just had to ask.

“Um, who is this?” I cringed.

“Who is this? This is your cousin Judi.  Don’t you recognize my voice?”

“Judi!” I enthused.  “No I guess I didn’t recognize your voice. We don’t talk on the phone that often.”

In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve spoken to Judi on the phone. Judi is actually AD’s cousin’s wife, but in our family we make no distinctions.  I knew Judi was supposed to be coming to town and I was delighted that she had called because we were hoping to get to see her.

We talked for several more minutes about this that.

“Well I hear you are planning a vacation,” she said.

I told her yes we were in fact trying to plan a summer vacation and that we were planning to come out her way, hoping to get by to see her.  I was a little surprised that she seemed unaware of that.  Maybe her husband, Cousin Tim, had forgotten to mention that we might be staying with them.

She asked how school was going.  I told her we were finishing up and that I was working on a slide show for the graduation.

She indicated that she thought that was unusual, but didn’t press me on it.

She asked about my heath.  I told her I was doing well and then to be polite, I asked about hers.

She told me all about her health issues, in detail, and boy was I surprised because I’ve always thought Judi was so healthy, always eating salad and jogging.

“Well my brother has written me off for dead,” she sighed, “But I’m just fine.”

And that’s when I knew that something was not right.  Cousin Judi had a brother but he died many many years ago.

“Um, you know what?” I hedged, “I thiiiiiiinnk you might have the wrong number.”

“Really?”  She was astounded.  “Are you sure?”

I asked her what number she dialed.  The phone number was exactly the same, but the area code was off by one digit – up just one button.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she said, “But it has been nice talking to you!”

“Same here,” I laughed.

Queue the Twilight Zone music.  I felt like I had been living in Judi’s parallel universe for that past five minutes and chuckled at how long it took for it all to unravel.

Back to my own quiet planet, I turned to my computer ready to get to work.

But before I could get started, I heard the front door slam and what sounded like a motorcycle.

27 thoughts on “The Phone Call

  1. Our telephone number is one digit different from a geriatric doctor’s office. Once a very old man called and stated from the beginning that he would not be able to hear anything on his end of the line, because he was almost deaf. I could picture him, alone and frail, his arthritic, liver spotted hands clutching an old black rotary phone. He was fretting about his appointment. I worried about him. I called the doctor’s office and they knew exactly who he was and said that his niece looked after him. Poor old thing, he couldn’t possibly have known that he had dialed a wrong number.

    * * *
    Oh my heart swells with love for you. You are a good soul.


  2. It happens to the best of us, AM. Years ago I got a wrong number call….the lady asked if I were a room mother at Monac School and I said, “No, but I am at Trilby”. We wound up talking for half an hour about room mother stuff and my family has never let me forget it. I just call it being neighborly! Seems like you would be a great wrong number….what with all the sound effects at your house.


  3. Well, don’t feel bad about that call. Years ago a lady called and started going on and on. When I finally asked who it was, she said, “It’s your MOTHER!” I told her that my mother had died several years ago. She got SO mad! “What a horrible thing to tell your mother!” and on and on. We finally figured out the same thing. Same phone number, different area code. She wanted 212 and dialed 213.


  4. Aw, it’s always so nice to read you, and smile and laugh, and read your comments, and smile and laugh. I must just be in a good smiling and laughing mood today, so thanx for being here! Thanx also for the book recommendation – we’ve sort of gotten away from reading stories together but that may be worth a look 🙂
    No mention has been made of a K graduation, so I’m guessing it’s being skipped at our school too. Hope Sean’s is all that and more! Can we see the video? 🙂

    * * *
    Oooh I wish I could but never in a 1000 years would I post pictures of other people’s children.


  5. Oh goodness, that’s funny!

    Years ago, there was a little old lady that kept dialing my house for 7 years thinking she was getting her daughter. We even got to know each other by name!


  6. BWAHAHAHAHA! We always joked my mother could talk for 15 min to a wrong number…but at least she KNEW it was a wrong number!


  7. LOL…about that phone call…I can tell right now that I will be laughing and/or smiling all day whenever this conversation comes to mind LOLOL..been there done that a time or two LOLOL…thanks for made my day!!!!! God Bless…hugs Ora in KY


  8. That is hysterical! (And I’m with the Other Elle…I would have just assumed that Judi had gone off the deep end. Which tells you something about my family in general).

    Anyway, if it makes you feel any better, I kinda had the same thing happen to me. I answered the phone one day to a woman asking to speak to me…or so I thought. We chatted a while but it soon became very apparent that we had no idea what the other was talking about. Turns out that she was trying to call someone else who just happened to share my first name. We kept laughing and saying, “what are the odds?”

    * * *

    Wow! That IS weird because how many people are named Quirky?


  9. Now, see, that’s where you are smarter than I. *I* would have thought to myself, pityingly, “Poor Judi. She’s losing it. She doesn’t even remember that her brother is no longer with us…” and I would have kept the conversation going.

    Not that I ever had this kind of conversation with a total stranger. No. Not me. Well, maybe once.


  10. My son not only makes motorcycle noises but he walks around crashing into thing also! I can relate to wishing for the sound of silence. If fact he is driving around the house as I type… maybe I should duct tape him to his chair?
    Anyway…I’d love to see the slide show it sounds just lovely!
    Glad you figured out which Judi you were talkin’ with!


  11. Oh my word…that’s funny. I hate talking on the phone so the idea of that conversation makes me cringe a bit.

    I remember on many occasion, while rocking my baby son to sleep, I would plan his kindergarten graduation all in my head. A slide show was definitely a part of it. (Pause) They don’t DO kindergarten graduation here. He’s finishing up 4th grade and I’m still a bit miffed about that. Harmph!


  12. Ha ha — so funny. The same thing happened once to my grandmother, she got a phone call one day, “Hi Grandma, this is Jeff.” She has a grandson named Jeff… assumed of course it was him. She talked to him a good half hour before they finally figured out it was NOT the right Jeff (or the right Grandma!) :o)


  13. That is funny. Sorry you missed out on your quiet time! Aaaaaaaannnnndddd the slideshow signals summer right? SUMMER! Summer! Summer! Ah yes, do nothing summer! Can’t wait!


  14. Whichever Judi it was, she broke the first rule of phone etiquette: always identify yourself when you make a phone call…”Hi, Antique Mommy, this is Judi…”

    Good luck on the slide show. I bet it is a bittersweet project.


  15. I love those sound effects. It’s funny how they’ve become part of the background noise. I almost don’t hear them anymore.


  16. Don’t you hate it when someone calls and you don’t know who it is so you play along. Everyone has caller id except us, so they assume you know and don’t identify themselves. That call was weird, but funny!


  17. My girlfriends son whistles. Constantly. ALL DAY LONG. I don’t know how she takes it.

    I’m helping with the slide show for my son’s 8th grade graduation. It is amazing to look back on last 10 years (pre-k to 8th) and to see just how much he has changed. It is one of those bittersweet moments.


  18. How amazing! Now I’m wondering if maybe your actual cousin Judi was, at the same time, calling another AM at the OTHER number and getting the same sorts of puzzled reactions. The Star Trek geek in me is reminded of a particular episode…


  19. I’d love to see your slide show. I did that on antiquated equipment when my 30 yo turned 18 – and its now preserved on a video. I must convert it to digital to last until that is an antique in a few more years.

    Oh and the phone call…what a hoot! And the motorcycle noise, my husband makes noises like that. Annoying!


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