Thursday evening we were just sitting down to dinner when we had a visitor (my aunt). We sat with her for a bit and while we were just about to actually eat, the phone rang. I went off. My aunt fussed me for being grumpy and unfriendly, but I had to explain to her why this bothers me so much.
It never fails. No matter what time we sit down to enjoy dinner, the phone will ring. We try to be clever about it and change our meal times by half an hour, an hour, but still the phone will ring. I’d like to say it’s always a sales call, but it rarely is. It’s always a member of the family calling to chitchat. That still doesn’t contain my frustration.
I love my family. I think we’ve already established that, but I do not like it when they call right when I’m about to eat…or right when I’m going to bed, or right when I wake up in the morning. I suppose that’s part of the problem of having so insomniacs in one family: they don’t sleep and when they get bored, they like to call and talk about nothing.
On one hand, I know my irritation was taught. My stepfather was a truck driver. He’d get up at dawn, have his coffee and head to work. This means he went to bed almost as soon as it was dark. My friends were strictly forbidden to call after 8:30 at night. I got into the habit of that and now that I’m the one up at the crack of dawn, if that phone rings at 8 o’clock, I start getting jittery. I answer the phone and spend the next hour glancing at the clock. My bed time! My precious sleep! Luckily for me (and sadly enough), our cordless phone doesn’t have a long life off the charger. Usually if the call lasts longer than 45 minutes, the phone will start beeping with impending battery death. This is my cue to say “Oh hell, the phone’s dying! I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
I think the other part of my irritation is that I just plain hate the telephone. I never was the kind of person who could chat for hours on the phone, even when I was a teenager. Oh sure, I’d talk to guys and my friends, but after about ten minutes, I’d start to fidget and want to put the phone down. Is that abnormal? I don’t know. I just know I prefer a face-to-face conversation because then I can read body language. If I say something my conversation partner doesn’t like, I can’t tell by the phone. I also don’t know if they’re rolling their eyes at me (which is a good thing because that means they can’t see me rolling my eyes at them).
So, what I’ve decided to do (horrible, grumpy person that I am), is to ignore the phone while having dinner. Of course this means my family will leave an inappropriate message on the answering machine, or call my cell phone, but at least I’ll have to chance to scarf down my food in relative peace.