Thomas Edison Is The Devil!
I gave him my phone number. He said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” And immediately I had PCA (Phone Call Anxiety). One of the hells of single life!
I met him last night. Friday, 8:34 p.m. to be exact. He seemed intelligent; but then again, I couldn’t hear a word he was saying because some Aretha Franklin song was playing at a decibel level not fit for human eardrums. After a few drinks, info. from the bartender attesting to his single status, and approval from my friends during bathroom touch ups, I gave him my phone number. Home not work. Bold move, although I lost a few points in the ‘gutsy’ category because it was scribbled on a cocktail napkin with my MAC lipliner. He said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” I instantly hated him.
How could he be so cruel before he even knows me? He might as well have said I’m a bit wide in the hip area and could use a facial. Why couldn’t he just have been vague and non-committal by using the word “soon”. The “S” word would have given me a few days without PCA – Phone Call Anxiety. But the damage was already done.
My best friend offered to stay over and help me through the irrational withdrawal symptoms by placing blame on the phone company, and frequently replenishing all sugary food items. I thanked her for the offer, but I had to do it alone. Nevertheless, I promised to call if there was an emergency due to faulty phone line wiring, incoming fax, answering machine malfunction, or the need to take a shower. Bravely, I went home.
The key was only halfway in the door when the obsession began. It’s just a phone! A little machine! Damn Thomas Edison! Before he invented the phone, was he aware of the aftermath? Did he take single women of the millennium into consideration? Did he have the foresight to imagine the heart palpitations that occur every time we hear the click of call waiting? Did he care at all about the profound disappointment we experience when we click to the other line and hear anybody but him? Probably not. He was a man. He was married. He lived in Jersey.
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. He said he would call today. All of a sudden, I’m anxious, then angry, then embarrassed, then sad, then depressed, then excited, then…I make a note to ask my shrink about schizophrenia.
The emotions continue to come and go as quickly as a CBS sitcom. After an attempt at meditation, and trying to go into ‘the light of a candle’, I settle on one emotion. Anger.
I don’t even know this guy and he’s making me angry! “Guy anger” is really not supposed to occur until the 3rd or possibly 4th date. Yes, there was that time with that guy, Joe something, when I didn’t get angry until the 10th encounter. – But that didn’t count because it took place on an island. Any encounter that includes an umbrella drink is automatically disqualified.
Suddenly, I remember the stack of bills I was supposed to attack last Saturday, but didn’t because the sun was out and I wanted to do that lemon in the hair thing. The bills, checkbook, diet 7-up, pen, stamps and a fresh bag of sourdough pretzels are on my coffee table. I sit on the floor, and begin the specific activity that although simple, when completed, gives most of the nation a feeling of accomplishment. There’s something relaxing about repetitive activities. – a calming effect. I sign my name over and over, grab a pretzel, sip a drink. Sign my name over and over, grab a pretzel, sip a… The phone rings!
My checkbook is swimming in a sea of 7-up; I bang my knee on the table and lodge a pretzel in my throat.
It rings again. My mind is racing. I don’t know what to do first – Try to save my checks, put ice on my knee, or attempt to cough up the pretzel nugget that seems to be expanding in my wind pipe.
The phone continues the summons. Reality sets in. I pick it up and during that split second that comes after the handpiece is lifted off the cradle, but before I say “Hello?” I cringe. I realized that during that split second I had just looked into the mirror and fluffed my hair.
At the exact moment I discover it’s him, the wedged pretzel decides to take a little tour of my vocal chords. I manage to utter the words, “Hold on!” He’s impressed with my Bea Arthur impersonation. While coughing, assuming I’m going to cough up part of a kidney – I run to the kitchen, grab the first cup I see, fill it with water, quickly guzzle water, stop coughing for two seconds, discover water went down wrong pipe, resume coughing – but in different octave, and sprint back to phone.
After I offer to call him back, I stop coughing and realize there might actually be a God. But then just as I feel a ‘moment’ approaching between us, the call waitings begin. My friends are calling to see if he called. After a quick click of a button, I try to recapture the exact moment prior to separation. I say something lame and feel stupid. He says something lame, I feel better.
The end is quickly approaching. The dance is almost over. The next moment is critical. It can go either way. The odds are almost even. – Murphy’s Law pays a house call and the conversation ends without a specific plan.
As I walk aimlessly around my apartment, my thoughts include, “The bills will not get done today…I have a lot of analysis to do…Will Dominos pizza take a personal check?…I need 2nd and 3rd opinions…male and female points of view…”
For the next few hours I phone everyone on my speed dial and find myself saying, “The denouement wasn’t ‘Nice meeting you. Hope to see you around.’ But it wasn’t, ‘Would you like to have dinner on Wednesday?’…It was somewhere in between.”
Eventually the repetition of the obsessive phone call analysis starts to have the same calming effect as signing a check over and over. It starts to feel normal.
It’s probably best I don’t get involved with this guy anyway. I’m sure he has some major issues. You can tell a lot about someone over the phone.