Phone Manners

As an adult, I have never been terribly fond of the telephone. Sure, it's a handy invention to have, especially when I find my ass trapped in a snowbank and I'm literally spinning my tires, but more often than not I find the telephone rings when ever the husband and I are getting our romance on.

It's usually his mother calling, wanting to know if I'm taking good care of her baby. (I was trying to, before you called. Sigh.

As a teenager, I couldn't live without a phone permanently attached to my ear. I used to spend hours in my mom's sewing room, hunched up on an uncomfortable stool with the phone pressed to my ear as I talked to my girlfriends or boyfriend about life and it's great mysteries in the only room I could be sure my brother wasn't eavesdropping on me.

Then I grew up. Suddenly life was not nearly as mysterious, especially around the supper hour when the telemarketers began harassing me at full force.

Like the other night while I had my best friend and her kids over for supper. I was trying to impart buckets of gossip wisdom to my friend when a telemarketer from Michigan decided to make my life miserable.

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The first time the phone rang and the great state of Michigan proverbially knocked on my door, I graciously answered it with the polite intentions of turning down what ever carpet cleaning deal, free travel trip or long distance plan they were offering.

But there was no one on the other line. Not even a heavy breather. Damn you, telemarketers. If you are going to call during the supper hour you could at least have the decency to actually remain on the line so that I can rip you a new one.

No biggie, I just hung up and continued discussing politics fashion, religion celebrity gossip and the economy our husbands with my friend.

Then the phone rang again. It was Michigan trying anew. I let it go to voice mail and didn't thing anything about it as I prattled on, only slightly annoyed about the persistent intrusion. A matter of moments later, the phone rang for the third time.

Maybe it was the wine and the liquid courage it had fostered, or maybe it was the simple fact that I was trying to import valuable life lessons to my best friend who was literally hanging on my every word, only to be interrupted by annoying telemarketers, but I lost it.

I picked up the phone and snarled in my meanest scariest voice, "FACK OFF AND DIE. TRY PHONING YOUR MOTHER. MAYBE SHE CARES." And then I promptly hung up. My best friend screeched with laughter and gave me a high five.

Before I could launch back into my conversation, the phone rang for the fourth time. Laughing, my best friend grabbed for it to save the poor telemarketer from receiving the tongue lashing of his or her life.

"Hello?" She laughed sweetly into the phone while batting my hand away as I tried to grab the phone from her to snarl into it. All of her sudden her face dropped and then she doubled over laughing hysterically and wandered to the next room to escape from the children and me so she could actually hear the person on the other line.

She came back moments later wiping tears of laughter away from her eyes and placed the phone back on to the counter.

"My mother would like to know why you yelled at her to fack off and die," she giggled. My face fell. Oh shit.

"Turns out that third caller wasn't Michigan but my mother trying to find out if I still needed her to sit for me next week. She knew I was having supper with you so she called here." She burst into laughter as she saw my ashen face. "She also wants me to say hello and remind you she will be at Easter supper on Sunday. She wants to talk with you," she sniggered.

Great. Nothing like a lesson in phone manners administered by the most pious scary woman I know while I choke back my Easter ham. Fun.

You would have thought this would have served as a valuable teaching tool for me to remember phone technology is not infallible. Sometimes caller i.d. fails and you mistakenly tell your well respected best friend's mother to take a flying leap instead of some asshat telemarketer.

But this is Tanis you are speaking about. I can be a bit of a slow learner. So yesterday, after a long day of shopping, I phoned my husband's cell phone. By my estimation, he would have been off work and on his way home. I wanted to brag to him about all my great shopping conquests and maybe tell him I loved him. Maybe. Depends on my mood.

So after a few rings, my husband answered his cell phone. Before he could even mutter hello, I launched into a long winded diatribe about my day and then ended with, "Ya, and I haven't pooped in five days and I'm starting to get uncomfortable."

A moment of silence on the other end of the line as my husband digested this morsel and all the other's I just hurled at him. Except it wasn't my husband. It was his best friend.

"Really. Five days eh? Are you eating leafy greens?" he joked.

As soon as he opened his mouth I realized my mistake. "What are you doing answering Boo's cell?" I screeched as my face went three shades red and I realized I just talked about my lack of shitting prowess with a man I haven't seen naked.

"Um, Boo's a bit busy right now so I'm holding his cell phone," he laughed. "But I'll have him call you back. And you can be sure I'll pass along that bit about your bunged hole." More laughter.

"Oh, and Tanis? Boo invited me to Easter supper, so I'll see you on Sunday."

Great. Now I'm going to be getting a lesson in phone manners from a woman I both admire and fear and a lesson in bowel maintenance from a man who survives strictly on whiskey, coke and cigarettes.

I hate telephones.

Have a happy Easter everyone. I'm not sure I will, but it will be informative.

I kinda know what that bunny feels like...