A Simple Phone Call

Cheryl delights in getting phone calls from people. It is a simple way for people to talk to each other on a direct basis. It is not a public conversation like so many on Facebook. Cheryl does not understand Facebook. You say to yourself- what is there to understand. Exactly. Now you know where her mind is.

About a year ago I wrote a long letter to her brothers and sisters in the hope of one or several of them would occasionally call Cheryl on the phone. Perhaps it was too subtle of me to suggest that they could do that in amongst a long list of other things that could and would help her to stay connected. They are not as communicative as I had hoped.

Cheryl, however, is always hopeful. When we return from anywhere – literally anywhere – she always wants to check for messages. She does this even though she is unable to remember how to do that. We still have a “landline” although it is no longer connected to the land. I keep it to give the robocallers something to do. Sometime this nice man in India (or Pakistan) who claims to be Mike with Medicare calls. He rarely leaves a message but once in awhile a real person does like my brother-in-law in Florida or a friend of Cheryl’s who does not understand her plight and still calls on the sort of landline. I can check for messages on my computer by logging into my Spectrum account. I suppose that is too much technology but I like it.

I think I miss the days when the phone was a phone. I think I miss phone books too. It was easier to track down folks that you had not talked to for some time. A method to reconnect was in the phone book. People who did not need connection had their phones unlisted. The roboes did not call as much then.

We used to have dumb phones. Now the phones that everyone carries around are small hand held computers that people rarely talk on. Many seem afraid that we will miss something. My sister-in-law walks around with a single inexpensive earbud in her ear that looks like a cicada in case someone calls. Maybe she is a secret telemarketer like Mike from Medicare.

When I was still working as an engineer, if I was talking to someone in my office, I did not answer the phone on my desk. Once one of the technicians and I were discussing a problem we were having with a machine and the phone rang – with an actual bell. I ignored it and he said – aren’t you going to answer that? My response was – not right now. You and I are working. If it is important they will leave a message or call back. He seemed bemused that I did not answer it right away. Others I knew would and if I needed to talk I called them on the phone even if they were in the next cubicle.

Many broadcast messages on Facebook and twitter and tiktok etc. I think that is like trying to find information in a noisy pub. It takes time to narrow down the source and then details may not be initially forthcoming. You might have to shout your question in a pub – you might have to ask your question in public on social media. It is possible to get an answer from a totally disinterested party. Who needs that?

Call Cheryl on the phone. She really enjoys conversing even though she is not good at it anymore. Be patient. She may really have a hard time finding words. Keeping connected with others is important to parkies and care partners. It gets lonely sometimes on the road. Conversation is crucial to good mental health.

Carpe (the land line) Diem

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