Opinion: Fear of phoning it in


In the heyday of my youth – the totally tubular ‘80s – receiving a personal phone call was cause for great joy. I’d run that cordless up to my room, close its unlockable door and flop myself down to discover what magical conversations awaited, be it a dissection of Billy Ocean’s latest release or a strategy session on the upcoming Aerosmith/Cheap Trick concert. Alas, like my truly magnificent bangs, those times are long gone.

Most banal communication now is handled through text messages, meaning if my phone actually rings, it’s for one of three reasons: Mom wants to recount her day in detail, possibly for the third time; a sneaky telemarketer has gotten around the do-not-call list; or, bless their hearts, one of my precious little angels has bad news to deliver. Every call has a thorn!

Such was the case last Sunday. Our older daughter, a collegiate mad scientist in-the-making (she accidentally grew anthrax in her microbiology lab), rang to announce that she had lost her car: “I parked it in front of my apartment (in a tow zone) to unload groceries, and when I came back (five hours later), it was gone.” Oh, dear. Or a few weeks back when her sister called me: “Hey, Mother, I think I just hit another car.” You think? And when our heir apparent fled a party being crashed by police, did he have the decency to utilize text? No, he phoned. From his hiding spot. In the woods. Sweet child of mine!

My ringtone literally triggers a Pavlovian response of acute anxiety. Because whoever is calling certainly isn’t wanting to applaud the “My Prerogative” MTV premier.

Peace out.