Moshi Moshi

old fashioned rotary phone with the reciever off the hook.

It’s over. I killed the landline.

It was pretty much a waste of budget since nobody has used it in years. We kept the account for Internet–a sluggish DSL service that we never bothered to upgrade because of my absolute HATE for Comcast and because FIOS isn’t an option in our part of Ward 5.

But even after we switched to grown-up Internet, I kept the landline. I said it was because I was being lazy. It was really because I was being sappy.

This was the phone number we had when we we were first married. I put my office number on the invitations to the Spouse’s surprise party and reminded our guests that it would be extraordinarily bad for them to leave a message on our answering machine at home. Only one person did. I don’t think we know them anymore.

This was the line that the Spouse used to tell his Mom that we were going to have a baby. He was instructed to pass the phone over to me. She told me that she didn’t believe him and that she needed to hear it directly from me. Then she whooped.

This was the line that traveled with us from our first house to our current house that delivered more than one conversation with teachers–and more than one conversation with the principal. I dreaded the phone ringing at six o’clock.

This was the line that The Big Guy proudly broadcast his armpit fart version of the ABCs as I sat on the side of the bed in my room on the 33rd floor in a Chicago hotel. The Other Parent had to assist. I pictured the receiver being held inches from his skinny ribs as he went all the way through to X-Y-Z. I don’t remember if that was the call when The Big Guy complained that the Other Parent kept messing up the lunches, but that happened, too. I tucked my boys in via that line every night I was on the road.

This was the line that was attached to the answering machine to which my Sibling delivered a remarkable screed that could be a totally different post except I don’t want to go there. Suffice it to say that I am sorry I wasn’t the first person to hear that message, and I am most sorry that was a very bad turn for us.

This was the line that I would pick up and answer questions about my music preferences, give my opinion of local politicians, take a CDC vaccination survey, test messages with the PR firm for the electric company, and, my favorite, spend time with a stranger talking whiskey. She asked, “When was the last time you drank whiskey?” and I truthfully responded, “about five minutes ago.” The next twenty minutes were hysterical as I asked her to repeat the five choices on the Likert scale almost every time.

A landline is very quaint. It is from a time before we all had our own personal communications devices. It was a shared resource. It created obligations. If I answered the phone I was duty-bound to “take a message.” I had to make sure that it was passed on. My children have never taken a message.

This landline stopped being of any import probably nine or ten years ago. It didn’t bring the news of my parents’ deaths. It didn’t keep me in touch with The Spouse when I was in the hospital. It didn’t participate when someone made the call from the police department. Nobody left messages on it anymore–especially since robocalls don’t count.

I’ve had the same cell number for about fifteen years. I think that everyone who needs to get me has that new number. And now, the old one is gone.

I dialed the old number. I am not sure why. A lady that I didn’t know answered.

The number you have dialed, 2-0-2-2-6-9-3-0-6-5 has been disconnected. No further information is available.


Rules Rule the Season

I sit here furiously typing (okay, furiously thinking about what to type. Okay, maybe just a little furious?) because I made up a rule. The rule is at least four thinkings each month. And it’s getting to the end and I have only two. (Three if this actually gets posted.)

I am not a big fan of rules and obligations. We impose rules on ourselves. This four entries a month rule is a rule to impose discipline. I am not so good on that discipline-thing. So I trick myself with rules I make up. I usually break them, but I am not so hard on myself.

And now, here we are, at the time of year of obligations and expectations. There are a bunch of rules that we impose on ourselves. The big thing I heard this year was card trouble. “I need to get my cards done….I am so late this year….I haven’t ever been THIS late….Do you think it’s okay if they get there like the day after Christmas?”

But there is also the expectation that others have about the cards. You know, staying on the list. Reciprocating. Keeping in touch.

The 15-year-old is saving up for a new phone. He has become the evil superhero Phone-Destroyer. He’s been through 3 so far this year. I said the next one was on his dime.

He had enough for a non-cool phone. The cool phone was in reach with after a few weeks of significant yard work.

I learned yesterday that he was back in the hole. Turns out that he was sneaking off to the mall after school to use his money to buy Christmas gifts for us. For us!?! I don’t know how we raised a kid with his generosity and kindness. Yet somehow he assimilated these excellent qualities–maybe applied as rules.

Merry Christmas!