The phone rang. It was my niece. Let’s call her . . .oh, let’s say, Hannah. That might actually be her name.
So this is our ritual—she calls me almost daily, usually around 6 PM, with that day’s problem or question. In fact, now if a day or two goes by and she doesn’t call me, I’m worried. And if I’m not home, she worries—because where would I possibly be? I don’t have a life. She never thinks to try my cell–which is good—because—Oh-My-God—what if I didn’t call or text her back? I mean, I’d obviously have my cell with me, right? I mean if I did go out? So she’d probably call my daughters and husband, and then the police. Because that’s the way we are. We’re chronic worriers, and if there isn’t something to worry or feel anxious about, then we invent something. I rarely call her because she doesn’t ever pick up, and when she does, she automatically thinks it’s an emergency and yells, “WHAT’S WRONG?”
So maybe we’re just a teeny tiny bit neurotic. We’re still loveable. Mostly.
By the way, I’m the calm one. That means I worry quietly.
Anyway, the phone call–
“Are you eating?” “No, I’m making dinner.” “Oh, Ok. I just have to tell you this real fast.” (The phone call will last about 45 minutes.]
“You know—I think you should write a blog post about my phone calls.”
“Wouldn’t it be entertaining?” she asks.
“Well. . .I couldn’t write about everything,” I tell her. She agrees—we wouldn’t want hurt feelings, or libel suits (assuming anyone reads this).
So today’s problem involves some lengthy, crazy emails she’s received—a postscript to yesterday’s call on the same subject. She needs to vent. I groan and laugh over the ridiculous things she tells me.
Secretly—well, I guess it’s not really a secret anymore—I love these phone calls. They bring connection and usually a laugh at the end of the day. My days recently have been spent mainly in front of my computer. Hannah’s phone calls are like a break from reality—although often rooted in family foibles, if not full-out family drama. It’s kind of like I’m suddenly in the middle of a sitcom, or perhaps an episode of Parenthood, her favorite show.
She warns me not to tell her any spoilers. Usually I’m the one who’s behind. We want to live in a Parenthood family compound, the one that I guess no longer exists on that show either, because there, too, life moves on, houses get sold, couples grow apart or together, family members get sick, and children grow up.
But back to the phone call. We discuss her oldest child growing up.
She called to him the other day, “Is that you?” “No,” he replied, “It’s the foreign exchange student.” Twelve-year-olds have their own sense of humor.
We discuss how much wine might be needed for Thanksgiving. It may require a lot.
“I have a new favorite cocktail,” she tells me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem doable for Thanksgiving. But some other time. . .
Hannah’s husband calls to her, and my dinner is almost ready. “I’ve got to go. Love you,”
“Love you, too.”
I forgot to tell her about the apple cake I made today. The kind she likes. Oh well.
Until tomorrow night then. I’ll be waiting for your call.