Phone calls

“Can you speak on the phone in about a half an hour?” A text I got today. And because it is somebody I care about, and don’t speak to often, I texted back “yes”.

And back came the answer “That’s fine. And don’t worry!”

Which was very helpful 🙂

When I was a student and away fom home for the first time, I used to phone my parents each week from the residence call box (pre-mobile phones – how did we survive?) Just occasionally, my mother would need to phone me to let me know something or to check on something. Almost invariably when that happened I was out, and so whoever answered the phone would leave a note on the pad on the door. Which would say “Your mother phoned and says don’t panic”.

I had this wonderful image of various people who didn’t know me labouring under the conviction that my mother needed to phone me on a regular basis simply to say “don’t panic”.

Which might have been comforting, but wasn’t actually the truth. Rather, it is that unexpected phone calls always presage bad news in my mind. The fact that that has hardly ever happened to me seems to be irrelevant. If the phone goes when I am not expecting it, or – even worse – when I receive a text like I did today, I “know” something awful has happened.

I once read in a novel the sentence “Between the first and second ring she had imagined the acccident and the idenfication of the body, and between the second and third, she had arranged the funeral, chosen the stone and bought the flowers” That would be right!

Writing it like this helps me see just what a weird notion of the world I am holding on to. Maybe, relying on experience, not “what I know” is a better way of coping. Or at least dealing with phone calls.


Or maybe not….


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