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.