Monday, February 1, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter P



Or, phone-less might be more appropriate for this one.

I spent the majority of the day today [Sunday] without phone, cable or internet. I’m not sure what happened to Mediacom, because I had no way of calling to find out if it was a wide-spread issue or something restricted to my direct vicinity. Because, you know, of the whole phone-not-working issue. And the whole, how-would-I-look-up-their-number-if-I-could-call-them dilemma without access to the internet.

Oh, that’s right! Someone invented the phonebook a long time ago. I might be slightly addicted to technology.

Regardless, I just had to wait. And be patient. And not talk to anyone.

Suddenly, I wanted to talk to everyone. It’s always like that, isn’t it? I most likely wouldn’t have wanted to pick up the phone all day today, but the minute I couldn’t I felt like I must.

The truth is, I intentionally don’t call my friends on the weekends. It’s that coveted time when they get to be home with their kids and their husbands. Either they’re running around to one of many sporting events or parties, headed out of town to visit family or simply enjoying some down time around the house… doing some cleaning or laundry or kicking back for movie time with the kids. Whether they’re busy or not, to me it’s family time and I think that is so rare anymore that I like to leave them uninterrupted.

That, of course, is intentional. But I realized something about myself a few weeks ago… that I had made a change, but not consciously. The change: I rarely call anyone anymore. It’s not because I don’t think about them, or want to talk to them and see how they are. I think it’s because I live in such a separate world now, I don’t want to infringe on theirs.

When I was busy, out and about, and multitasking like everyone else, I picked up the phone and called without thinking. We were all busy and catching each other when we had a minute. Calling from the car or work or whatever… it was just natural. But then their lives kept being busy, and mine virtually came to a stand still.

To enter their world again I was a bit like Alice, going down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

I would want to call and then would look at the clock, thinking: Oh, they’re still at work… they’re probably making dinner… the kids are in the middle of needing help with homework… I think they had a basketball game tonight… I don’t want to interrupt bedtime – that’s always a tough ritual. I know their lives, their routines, their habits, because I used to live it with them. And now I don’t want to interrupt the carefully timed schedules that are required to work if their families are going to function well and peaceful and on time.

Trust me when I say this was my unconscious change, not theirs, and I don’t think it’s either good or bad… just different, as my life has become different. But there is one change that inevitably occurred as well, one that I absolutely love.

I am always here when they call.

I’m the friend that gets the call after an exasperating meeting, or when something ridiculously funny happens in the school pickup line or one of their kids says something so intensely cute they want to tell someone so they won’t forget it.

I get the calls about the tantrum a child had when the parent needs to walk away. I know about the rude look the cashier gave at the grocery store or am the person they call to waste time with while their child is finishing up a gymnastics class. I get to be on the other end of the phone during the details of life… the ones that everyone else who is also busy has to miss. The details I’m always available to hear and share.

My phone habits have changed, but I think I like it. I know that even if I can’t find the right time to jump down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland my friends now inhabit, they pull me in when they want to share. And the phone means I’m always able to leap into whatever situation they find themselves, and live life right along with them.

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