Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Please try not to rock my world, mmmkay?
(Cell phone rings) Me: "Hello?"
Daughter: "Dad, do you know where my Selena Gomez refrigerator magnet is?"
Me: "Umm, no. Should I?"
Daughter: "No, Dad. Well, yes. I mean, no. Thanks. Bye."
And that's it. The phone call has ended.
With adults, saying goodbye on the telephone is more like making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. You have to do certain things or it just doesn't turn out well. For example:
Me, trying to wrap up a phone conversation with another adult guy: "Okay, man, great catching up with you. We seriously have to have beers, and soon."
Guy: "Absolutely. You've got my number right?"
Me: "Yep. Right here in my phone. Let's not be strangers. And say hi to Josephinia and those rug rats of yours."
Guy: "Will do. Say hi to your wife, whose name she doesn't want mentioned in your blog, and of course your kids, whose fictional names are Chloe and Mauryn."
Me: "You got it. Take care. We'll see ya. Take it easy. Bye bye, now, then."
Okay, maybe I exaggerated slightly, but I do usually rattle off three quick phone-isms prior to actually ending a call. Here's my theory:
We Americans don't like change, and if we must endure change, it must transpire as slowly and gently as possible.
Our blockbuster movies build to chaotic apexes, containing highly traumatic events for the protagonists, but end with the same sense of normalcy found at the film's beginning.
Our restaurant meals call for a series of foods which build to a hearty main course and cycle down to a cup of coffee and at the very least, an Andes Mint on the check tray.
Our football contests require an extra point attempt following every climactic touchdown score. No one wants the other team to repossess the pigskin just yet; a bit more closure, a smidge of decompression, is necessary in order to move on.
Let's be clear—I'm not above any of this stuff. The routine in which I participated to put my kids to bed would've made a twelve-step program feel like speed dating. By the time the story reading, water refills, special handshakes, monster exorcisms and origami-like blanket formations were completed, it was time to run the following night's bath water.
I think the bedtime go-round was nearly as important for me as the children.
When Safeway changed the name of their pop from "Select" to "Refreshe," I dreamed of discovering a secret forest warehouse, where a twenty-five year old Farrah Fawcett stood at the door and offered me a Safeway Select Black Cherry or maybe a Shasta Grape soda. I think she was wearing tube socks.
I even feel a little uneasy when a new bus driver flips those double doors open.
As I said, America loathes change, so that must make me one hundred percent yankee doodle.
Now, please, hand me the remote.