Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Every Monday on the drive home from work I call my parents and chat during my ½ hour commute. They’ve gotten used to that schedule and, in fact, my dad usually picks up the phone and says, “Hello, Jane!” (He’s a pretty clever guy, eh?!) But you also should understand that they don’t have Caller ID, so it’s a leap of faith for him.
Anyway, I’d just called them on Friday to wish my dad a happy birthday and there really wasn’t anything new and different to talk about a mere three days later, so I decided to call my other phone buddy, Mrs. B.
Now Mrs. B is the mother of my friends Nick and Joe. She’s an “80-and-change” little Italian spitfire with a great sense of humor. I’m quite sure she doesn’t hit the 5 feet mark and she’s slowed down a bit in recent years, but she has certainly retained that joie de vivre she’s always had. Only, since she’s from Italy, perhaps I should search for the Italian equivalent of the phrase? Nah…too much work. I think you get the point.
Mrs. B has called me a couple times in the past week, but I wasn’t able to set aside the requisite amount of time necessary to have a proper conversation with her, so I hadn’t returned her call. Well, actually, it’s more like a soliloquy as you don’t interrupt Mrs. B when she’s on a roll.
You also can’t interrupt to say you’ve reached your destination and you need to go…or the surgeon is ready to begin your surgery…or the Queen of England is holding on the other line. Doesn’t matter what else you need to do – she’ll just keep on talking until she’s finished. Once she has said her piece, she’ll tell you she loves you and then she promptly hangs up. So you have to understand you’re on Mrs. B’s time!
I had only the half hour (or however long my commute took) because as soon as I arrived home, we had to leave to meet some friends for dinner, but I decided to take a chance.
So I called Mrs. B. After several rings she picked up and said, “Who dis?” So I told her and she said, “JANIE! How you doin’? I can’t talk now because (garble-garble) restroom (garble-garble) truck stop!” Huh?
However, being the crack communications expert that I am, I gathered she was on the road with one of her sons and they’d made a, er, pit stop. So she said she’d call me back as soon as she was out. And then she hung up.
Not knowing how long it might take an “80-and-change-year-old lady to finish using the facilities, I debated about calling my parents since, after all, it was their scheduled phone day. In the end, I didn’t talk to anyone and, hard as it is to believe, I simply drove home.
But sure enough, as soon as Vince and I headed out to meet our friends, Mrs. B called back. Again, I didn’t answer, because she doesn’t get the “I only have a minute since we’re on our way somewhere…” thing. She’ll keep talking until you feel like a big scum by practically hanging up on her.
So I let it go to voicemail. And then her son Joe called. And then she called back. I now had THREE voicemails from them. Argghh! Talk about making me feel like a bad friend!
I’d hoped there wasn’t an “incident” in the truck stop bathroom, but I figured I’d call back after dinner and would find out soon enough.
During dinner, I had two more phone calls from them.
When we arrived back home, there was a message on our home answering machine. No, it wasn’t Mrs. B (I don’t think she has that number). Instead, it was my dad! He said they’d “missed Jane’s Monday phone call and hoped everything was okay.” Arrrghhh! Now I felt like a bad daughter, too!
Just then my cell phone rang and it was Joe. So I answered and said “What do you people WANT??!” He just laughed and said, “Janie, you’re famous!”
Turns out that they weren’t in a truck stop – they were at a repair shop. The starter went out on his vehicle somewhere in West Virginia on their way back to Ohio.
Evidently, Mrs. B had made friends with everyone in the waiting room at the repair shop, as she is wont to do. Eventually she decided she needed to use the restroom so she slowly made her way across the room. Once inside, the phone rang (me) and everyone heard her clearly exclaim, “Janie!”
When she came out of the restroom, she called across to Joe, “You’ll never guess who called!” And everyone in the waiting room called out in unison, “Janie!”
Dang. My two seconds of fame – and I had to go and use it up in a repair shop in West Virginia!
Joe went on to explain other events of the day – like how their vehicle had to be transported on a flatbed truck and he and his mother had been IN their vehicle ON the flatbed truck. They probably pretended they were in a parade and practiced their Queen Waves to everyone they passed! I said I certainly hoped there was photographic documentation, but no such luck.
I told him to tell his mom that I would call her later this week when hopefully she isn’t (a) anywhere near a truck stop bathroom, and (b) I have enough time to listen to her soliloquy. He said he would pass on the message. For a dollar. Hey, I guess he’s gotta pay for the car repair and flatbed tow bills somehow, doesn’t he?
Anyway, things are okay with them. And while I was on the phone with Joe, Vince called my parents back. After I hung up with Joe, I talked to both my parents. And all was right again in our little corner of the world.
So hopefully my Bad Friend/Bad Daughter status has been upgraded to “Good” again. Oh. Except that I haven’t technically talked with Mrs. B, have I? Sigh. Guess I have to be knocked back down to “Marginal” until I make that call.
But I gotta go. I think the Queen is holding on the other line for me…Sheesh. That woman never lets up!
Oh, and um…Ciao! Talk later.