It’s not easy to talk to me, even though my iPhone is with me 24/7. It’s because I split my time between my day job and the bookstore. When I’m not either of those places, I’m usually running errands, cleaning the house, washing/drying clothes, or ironing. Somewhere in the midst of all that activity, I blog and write three pages per day on a coming of age novel that never seems to end. (Set in the ‘80s, the only thing keeping this story from being a mini series is Jane Seymour in a pair of should pads!)
Often when friends call me, I’m unable to speak with them, so I let them go to voice mail, with the intention of returning the call as soon as possible. Frequently, I’m unable to find the time or forget until it’s after midnight and I’m winding down for the night, so I put it off until the next day … and then the next … and they told two friends, and so on, and so on.
Today, while I was ironing, the stars aligned and I realized I could call all the people I like and love (sometimes they are exclusive) and have not spoken with in ages. I managed to speak with two of them, but left messages for the rest, receiving a text back from one before she went on stage for a matinee in Indianapolis. (You never know where in the world Cherry is! Ironically, she used to just live one street over from my house.) The rest, I didn’t hear back from, which makes me wonder.
I picture them doing something interesting, and their phone rings. They take a peek and see my name appear on the display and think, Damn! I’d really love to take this call from Jef, because he’s such a witty and fascinating fellow, but it’s probably not a good idea to do so while I’m assisting in the delivery of a calf or undercover as a teenage prostitute to stop the head of an international human trafficking ring in Walla Walla, Washington. Regretfully, they let my call roll over into voicemail and the cycle continues.
Here’s the disturbing part, though. The longer I go without returning a phone call to a friend, the more subconscious pressure I feel to remedy the situation, even though I might not have time to talk until several days from that moment. Therefore, I have purposely begun calling some friends when I know they cannot possibly take my call, because then I can say I have called and not have to talk to anyone when I don’t have time to talk. But I’ve returned the call and now the ball is in their court, which probably explains why they usually call me when it seems they should know I’m not afraid to talk. Will we ever connect?
Do you find it difficult to connect with friends nowadays? Do you ever purposely call a loved one when she’s not available, just to transfer the responsibility of the phone call fall on her instead of you?