My mother loves to talk on the phone. I talk to her every day. Sometimes I talk to her more than once and often times, she is the only person I talk to on the phone in a 24 hour period. It doesn’t matter what she is doing: shopping at TJ Maxx, getting her nails done, grabbing a bite to eat with a friend, yes, even if she is sitting at a restaurant table with company she will pick up the phone and chat with someone who wasn’t lucky enough to be there. Sometimes we will be 4 minutes in and I’ll obediently ask “Where are you?” and she’ll say “Oh I’m at the Café with Donna. Can you pass the salt? Our entrees just arrived. So good. Excuse me; I’ll have another chardonnay, ice on the side. That was Karen”
“I don’t think I know her”
“I KNOW you don’t know her but I told you about her, the waitress, just lost 30 pounds, the divorce and all.” She chews something crunchy.
“I’m gonna let you go.”
“OK, I’ll call you when I’m warming up the car”
Every task is the opportunity for a phone call.
The good news is she can’t figure out how to put one call on hold to answer another. This obstacle periodically becomes the most frustrating pill for her to swallow.
“Sorry I missed your call. Can you believe I still can’t figure out how to put one call on hold and answer another? I mean, I like to answer people’s calls, when they call. Some people get real turned off by voicemail, ya know? It shouldn’t be so difficult. So I’m talking to you right now, if I got another call, you know what I would do?”
Me: "Hang up on me?"
Mom: "Yes! I would. I would hand up on you; only because I don’t know any other way. I’d call you back, of course."
Me: "Of course."
My sister is one the sharpest long term strategists I’ve ever met. Years ago, I’m talking 15 – 20 years ago my sister stated “I don’t like to talk on the phone” that was it. A character defining statement. She self-identified as someone who will have an emotional reaction to frequent phone calls. So guess what? She is not expected to talk on the phone every day. Why? Because she doesn’t like it. Brilliant. Fucking brilliant.
That wouldn’t have worked for me. If someone had sat me down 20 years ago and said “You know Kendra, if you let people know now that you don’t like talking on the phone, 20 years from now you are gonna have more ME time” I would have been like “ME time? That sounds lonely. Let me call Linda and see what she thinks”
I’m too afraid of being alone to completely cut myself out of any type of socializing. Shit, I didn’t even realize there were things I didn’t like to do until recently.
I ordered a coffee at a coffee shop. I guess you could say a fancy coffee shop. Independently owned, I like that. I like to support the people.
ME: “I’ll take a large coffee”
COFFEE KID: “One large coffee, that is $3.75. You’ll find milk and sugar on the counter behind you”
I don’t like that. I knew right away. I don’t like buying a pricey coffee then having to fix it up with milk and sugar on my own. That’s part of making my coffee, as far as I’m concerned. It’s like “here is the beginning of your order, now go over there, away from me, and finish it up so I can do half my job for the next guy.” I’m doing the barista’s job. I’ve just been made responsible for 50% of the making of the coffee. I went to the “finish up your coffee order on your own” counter and poured some milk in my coffee, I then had to find the right sized cover. I was working. But I wasn’t getting paid. All I really wanted was for someone to make me a good cup of coffee. I like that.
Sometimes I wake up and yell “Honey, will you bring me coffee in bed? Pretty please?” to my empty apartment.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand-up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.