Why aren’t you picking up the phone?

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Vincent van der Pas

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hate the phone.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and strangle Alexander Bell before he invented it.


Because his invention has had quite an impact on my life.

When I was younger, I thought it came second only to the radio.

The phone was like magic in a box.

People could call you across the miles and discover in seconds, how and what you were doing.

It served to communicate good news, bad news, and everything in between.

As I grew older, I continued to value the phone and its perks.

Potential employers could reach me to relay that I would finally be able to pay off my student loans.

Boyfriends in the local area could call and talk my ear off for hours without it costing either of us a cent.

I could gossip with friends about their love affairs, their husband’s love affairs or any love affair that was taking place in the neighborhood.

Yes, the phone was entertaining.

But then I became a mother and began to realize how much of a nuisance the phone could be.

I still remember the time I spent two hours singing the Son to sleep when he was a baby, only to have a ringing phone wake him up.

Given it was one in the morning, I thought it was an emergency.

The emergency?

My mother calling to ask if it was okay to give a stray dog cat food.

As the years passed, my hatred for the phone grew.

It became an intrusive and annoying little fiend who had the power to wake up the kids, the dog, and the Significant Other.

It interrupted meals, family discussions, and sex.

It rang in the morning, afternoon, and throughout the night.

The worst thing was, you couldn’t ignore it because the person on the other end wouldn’t allow it.

If it was my family, my refusal to pick up resulted in them calling the police.

If it was the Significant Other’s family, not answering resulted in them coming over to see what was wrong.

This forced us to plan our lives around phone calls.

Important family conversations had to be scheduled around times we knew the phone wouldn’t ring.

This generally meant anytime between 2 and 6am.

Sex was scheduled in a similar fashion.

A typical conversation on the subject between the Significant Other and myself went something like this:

“Hurry! We have about 20 minutes and 15 seconds before my mother calls and asks me to explain the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver.”

“Are you kidding me? Then I don’t want to hear any complaints that the foreplay sucks or is nonexistent.”

“Someday I’ll figure out a way to kill the phone and you won’t be able to use it as an excuse.”

“Someday your family will get a life and stop calling at ungodly hours.”

“Someday your mom will stop calling to verify that I’m feeding you.”

Ring! Ring!

“Great! Lets try again tomorrow at 2am.”

It was no wonder I was ready to yank the phone out of the wall.

And I would have if it weren’t for the fact that persistent callers would then turn to texting our cell phones, emailing and leaving messages on the Significant Other’s Facebook page, asking, “WHY THE HELL AREN’T YOU PICKING UP THE PHONE? IS SOMETHING WRONG?”

What could be wrong other than the fact that I’d broken glassware, fell down the stairs, sprained my ankle, stepped on the dog, walked out of the shower fully soaped, choked on food, and nearly set the kitchen on fire, all in the attempt to answer the phone?

Alexander Bell, thank you. Thank you so much.

Does your family alert the media, the local authorities, the FBI, and the evening news if you don’t answer your phone?


53 thoughts on “Why aren’t you picking up the phone?

  1. My mom is an annoying phone caller. If I don’t pick up by the third ring she will hang up, only to call again in 15 minutes. I can never get to the phone in 3 rings or less. She repeats this torture until I can finally locate the phone.
    Now that I have a cell phone she alternates calling it and the house phone. It wouldn’t be so bad if she actually wanted to talk but most of our conversations are measured in seconds and not minutes.

    1. Neela, I feel you pain. You have no idea how many times I’ve run to the phone, almost breaking my neck in the process, only to have it stop ringing on the third ring. Maybe my family is related to your mom! :)

  2. My father often complains that I don’t answer my phone. So, I’ve gotten into the habit of texting before I turn it to silent.

    “The kid is asleep. Don’t call or stop by.”

    “Busy, phone off. Everything ok. Don’t stop by.”

    My parents live right down the street, so the “don’t stop by” part is essential if I am not going to answer the phone.

    And our door is always locked. Ahem.

    1. Amber, I like your style, girl! The problem with me using your brilliant methods is that my family lives in another continent. You have no idea to what extremes they go when they can’t reach me. Every time I don’t get to the phone in time, leaves me wondering if they’re going to alert the Coast Guard! :)

  3. LOL! This is hilarious! Calling at 1 a.m. to ask if it’s okay to feed a stray dog cat food! Classic. Awhile ago the husband and I had our home phone number disconnected because we never answered it. We didn’t bother telling anyone we’d disconnected it (we weren’t trying to be mean, it just honestly never occured to us). Our friends and family would tell us, “I’d tried calling your house last night and kept getting the message ‘we’re sorry, but the number you dialed is no longer in serve.'” Oops.

    1. Oh girl, if I did something like that, you can believe my mother would be activating an “Amber alert!” hee hee! As for the Significant Other’s folks? They’d hop on their bikes, cars, Vespas or whatever has wheels to come over and “investigate.” :)

  4. My mom goes straight to guilt trips…. “I just needed to hear your voice.” The more you say that mom, the less you’ll be hearing it. But she doesn’t get that. I hate the phone. And here’s another thought. Drug deals would be Much harder w/o a phone. They are a lazy lot and, in general, would disappear w/o phones. Four times now, my nephew’s rehab has only lasted until he got a new phone. You think they’ll have the discipline to learn Morse code? I-dash-dash-think-dot-dash-dot-not-dot-dot.

  5. I love the post! I could picture certain members of the family calling a million times, texting and posting messages on Facebook, wondering why we didn’t pick up :)

  6. I hate the phone. My mum has this amazing capacity to call when we are starting to eat or trying to relax. I hate it. I am trying to get her to send emails. Not there yet…

    1. Muriel, do not give up. Something tells me this lot has to be trained. Trained, I tell you. But, I share in your grief. I’m miles away from even being close! :)

  7. Nobody likes to answer the phone at our house. Most calls go to the answering machine because we’re in the middle of our “it’s your turn”/”no, it’s your turn” argument.

    1. Shary, I disconnected the answering machine. This because it was just to annoying to hear voices on the other line saying, “I know you’re there! Why won’t you pick up? Don’t make me call the cops and tell them I think you bumped your head and are passed out in the living room! Okay, I’m dialing 911!”
      I laughed at your kids “I’ts your turn” argument! :)

    2. Shary, I’m chuckling over the fact that the “It’s your turn” is a game between you and the husband! OMG, yes, you mentioned not having kids and I’ve just now realized that it’s the tall people playing the game! I love it! :)

  8. Oh, I love the phone but I’m kind of selective about it. I mean, there are times I want to be bothered and other times I’ve felt quite insignificant that no one was thinking of me enough to call. But I’m so good about not answering when I don’t want to engage and I was just telling my daughter before reading your blog that I hate it when people don’t call me right back. It’s crazy on my part but my thinking is ‘Okay, I know they saw my name pop up. Why haven’t they called back yet?’ Then when it goes into the next day that I don’t get the call back, I may even take it personally. Oh, I’m a trip when it comes to the phone.


    1. You see, Totsymae, this is why I hate the phone! It puts you in such precarious situations! It even has the ability, like in your case, to make you feel insecure! My advice? Take it off the hook whenver you can! :)

    2. Totsymae, what I meant was that when people don’t call you back, they make you start questioning why they haven’t done so. At times that serves to undermine our self confidence. Wouldn’t you agree? Or maybe that’s what happens to me and I’m projecting it on to you? hee hee! :)

  9. I have a friend who is just an annoying as your family – no, worse, if you can imagine. In fact, she called just now and of course I let the machine answer. But thank God for caller ID: the best invention ever! Because now I recognize her number and know better than to answer, unless I want to be sitting on my arse for an hr. and listening to her long-winded rants about her family: her crazy sister, her insane mom; her loony uncle…

    There have been times she’s go on for so long that I’d gingerly place the phone down, go get a drink, go to the bathroom, or do whatever needed to be done during the interval of her motor running session. Then I’d come back and she’d still be rambling on. So I finally learned to screen my calls. Now when she calls and leaves messages on the machine she says, “Are you there? Screening your calls are you?”

    I overheard her tell someone once that I was such a good listener that she sometimes wasn’t even sure I was even there.

    1. Debra, I think we all have a toxic acquaintance like the friend you mention. I’m glad you’ve been able to handle the situation with such panache! And ditto on the greatness of caller id. Too bad for me it’s worthless when it comes to family because if you don’t pick up, they will find a way to reach you anyway. There’s no hiding! hee hee! :)

  10. LOL! Bella, I loved this post. All segments of your life patterned around excessive phone calls. I’d lose my mind! I even get impatient when someone leaves excessively lengthy messages. Please! I’m gonna call you back and you’re just going to tell it all over again! (I’m a horrible person, I know).

    1. June, you’re not horrible, you’re real! :) But you’re right–they will end up repeating whatever they left on the answering machine so it totally defeats the purpose!

  11. Oh my God Bella, I hate the phone with a passion too. We turn the ringer off at night now, after years of fielding ridiculous calls from family, friends and employers. We have told our people that we will not pick up after 8 p.m. when the girls are in bed. If there is an emergency then we will just have to figure it out some other way. So nobody worries about us unless we forget to turn the ringer back on in the morning, which has only happened once; the 20 anxious phone calls from family were enough for me to learn my lesson. :)

    BTW, I laughed out loud at work about your mom and the cat food!

    1. Happy to interrupt your work for a giggle, Ms. Heidi! :) My mom is a character. What am I saying? Everyone in my family is a character–totally lovable but unique in their perspectives! I could never use your system. I can hardly remember to return the cordless so it can charge, imagine having to turn the ringer back on. Yep, the firemen would be at my door, alerted by the family. Firemen? Hmm…maybe this wouldn’t be a bad thing! hee hee!

  12. No, my family knows I am completely antisocial and take the phone off the hook! The answering machine is always on and I get back to people as soon as I see the light flashing, (usually anyway LOL), but absolutely hate to be interrupted when I’m on a roll writing. Why not tell the Police you’re fine and your relatives are wierd and then do what I do. The phone is there for YOUR use, not anyone elses. You pay the bill right?

  13. This is so incredibly true! I hate the phone. The only people who call us are telemarketers, my mother, and my mother-in-law. And I think we have the same mothers. Where yours calls about giving a stray dog cat food, mine calls to tell me three times the Judds are signing on some show and do I know where her hidden recipe box is. And not sure if your mom does this, but if I don’t pick up the phone, she then tries my cell phone. She can’t fathom the thought that we sometimes just don’t pick up the phone. She’s aghast when I tell her that I’ll call her back because we’re eating. The way I see it, the phone is an intrusion and is a request for my time. I’m not obligated to pick it up (especially when I know who’s on the other line).

    1. Good for you, Leah! And yes, I think our mothers may be related! Mine is quite funny when it comes to the reasons she calls. It can be anything from requesting instructions on how to work the remote to having me “Google” a medical condition. And yes, she will call the cell phone, which she refuses to call a cell and insists on calling it a “mobile.” :)

  14. Hello Bella –

    You certainly have a dilemma there. Could the situation be resolved if all 3-families joined together to live in one big happy and unified home together? Wait, that wouldn’t work. Most certainly you would need one of your blogger pals to stop you from jumping off the nearest high bridge while you composed your “Farewell All” post to the world via laptop, hahaha. We don’t want to lose you prematurely so I’m advising you now to look for another option.

    The problem with the telephone is that it’s so darn convenient to use. I think momma calling at 1am. to discuss cat food for a lost dog is a bit extreme, lol. So many times people are talking about nothing on the phone. Just jabbering is all. I’m assuming you would prefer moderation with all the phone calls which may help you to appreciate those times they do call and prompt you to pick up and dial them as well. What if there were no phone calls? What would you do (keep your response PG-13 please)? Have a wonderful Friday Bella. :)

    1. Charlie, every single one of my family members is a night owl. There are no morning birds. Ergo, it’s not unusual for any of us to be awake until the wee hours of the morning tinkering about instead of getting much-needed sleep. I wish there was something I could do to get everyone in bed at a respectable hour. But alas, not happening. As for everyone moving in together commune style, not on your life. We’d be at each in each other’s hair the minute we closed the front door. But no worries, we’ll keep thinking of possible solutions to rectify the dilemma! Happy Friday to you as well! :)

  15. I don’t answer the phone anymore – it’s NEVER for me.
    BTW, don’t slam Mr. Bell. If it weren’t for him we’d be communicating in Morse Code… can you imagine?
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Astra, lucky you! I can imagine morse code! Yikes! But at least morse code is silent! hee hee! Have a great weekend! :)

  16. I live on the phone (for work) all day long, back-to-back calls. My clients are near and far, wacked and sane, and I use all of my Sybil personalities as required and depending on the type of client. I am sweet as honey, hot as chipotle, a dominating, pushing bi**h, angelic, a street talking thug, when warranted, I am Mae West on the dang phone. No, I am not a ‘call girl or a special phone friend’, I work in technology (in case I needed to clarify that). So when I leave the office the last thing I want to do is TALK on the phone, to anyone. Yes, it drives my extended family bonkers. At home, when the phone rings I just look at it. I am with you on this one…

    1. Brenda, it’s good to have you on my team! From here on in, and I’m going to just look at the phone when it rings and hope I can ignore it. To hell with the consequences! hee hee!

  17. I am glad to see I am not the only one who hates talking on the phone. I much prefer email. I can answer at my convenience. My evenings are busy working out, preparing dinner, getting ready for the next day and checking my social media. I don’t have time to spend 45 minutes hearing gossip about my cousins. Sorry Mom. I know she hates it, but I screen her calls. And everyone else’s as well.

    Stopping in from the tea party.

    1. Hello and welcome! I’m going to have to install caller ID! I think it’s going to help me mediate who I want to talk to! :)

  18. Oh gosh, that’s terrible! Fortunately all I have to worry about is a cell phone, which is typically pretty easy to get to, and more importantly, can be turned onto silent! Yikes. I moved away from home when I went away to college, and so my parents developed the policy that I should call them instead of them trying to call me and interrupting something/ me not picking up (thank goodness apparently), and while my SO’s dad has been known to call at 5 or 6am, it doesn’t happen very often. I consider myself very lucky.

    1. Heather, I want your life! hee hee! Yes, lady, consider yourself lucky! Now you only have to make the 5am calls go away. Piece of cake! :)

  19. Ugh I hate the phone. I remember a time before call waiting, caller id (although thank god for this one) and answering machines and no one died. I’m sure I’ll be just like my mom calling my kids when they are grown asking inane questions because i just want to hear their voice.

    1. Yes, something tells me we will indeed succumb to this! Maybe at that time we’ll be able to get a video shot of the home we’re dialing and they’ll never be able to hide from us then! :)

  20. Disconnecting the answering machine isn’t the answer. What message you leave on said machine is. I remember when mine went like this: “Hi, you have reached [my phone#]. I am busy herding cattle right now (or whatever pressing engagement) and will get back to you when I’ve finished castrating the last male calf. Have a PRODUCTIVE day!

    More than half the time the caller would leave somthing along the lines of….”screw you Rowena!” Buahahahha!

    1. Rowena, you are the queen of ingenuity! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we ladies could stand to learn so much from you! :) I think this calls for my re-recording my answering machine message!

  21. My husband’s ex-wife used to call and then hang up on me. She ADMITTED it to both of us, saying she was bored. When my stepdaughters were old enough to have cell phones, I thought I’d finally get some peace. Nope. One Saturday at 6 a.m., the then 14-yr-old middle stepdaughter walked into our bedroom and shoved the phone in hubby’s face: “It’s Mommy. Tax question.”

    I say, “(Name), we are having sex. Get the hell out.” I made sure to say it loud enough for ex-wife to hear, too.

  22. This made coffee dribble out of my nose as I laughed! Great post to start my morning with :)
    My mother calls me everyday as I’m rushing to clean up and get dinner ready to ask “Did you watch Dr. Oz today?”, which is then followed by a lecture of how much fiber/iron/calories/sex I should be having. I feel your pain. ;)

    Btw, for curvy girl banter, fashion, and this week even a plus size lingerie giveaway, feel free to visit my blog Big-Girls-Bigger-Dreams. Hopefully you’ll stumble on a post there that makes coffee or some other breakfast beverage shoot from your nostrils while you laugh :)

    1. Adrienne, thank you for your comment! I’m glad to provide you with a morning giggle! Your mother and mine must be comrades! Mine doesn’t talk about Dr. Oz but the questions, reminders and anecdotes are just as painful! :) I will surely drop by your blog to check it out!

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