When the phone rings at six PM nobody is delighted. Or maybe it’s just me. The landline no less. When my eleven year old returns from the kitchen, where she answered the phone against the sound advice of her much more worldly mother, I was even less delighted.
Any reasonable human knows to email, text, send a facebook message, or as a last resort call my cell. All will be magically sent to my blackberry which will whir or chirp so I can glance at it and ignore or delete you. The landline is the remainder table of communication: Cold calls, robo-calls and relatives over seventy.
“Mom, it’s the police. They want to speak to you.”
Racewalking to the kitchen, I open my mental excel spreadsheet to locate my teenaged sons. Will I need to activate the medical or the legal side of the family tree? It’s August, still light out, they were riding their bikes to Fairfax, it’s rush hour. Of course my darling boys wouldn’t be doing anything that would attract the attention of a police. The arrow was jiggling towards medical.
“Is this Allison?”
This is a bad sign. Everything official is “Mary”, so either I know this man or he has been asked to call me by someone I know or….
“This is officer Daniels of the police auxiliary at risk youth blah blah. How are you this evening Mam?”
“You have the opportunity to attend the opening night of the Rodeo at the Cow Palace. I have here a ticket I can put in the mail for you today. Would you consider a donation……”
My adrenaline and hormone levels were not working in Officer Daniels’ favor. Who did he piss off at HQ to land the rodeo ticket gig? He couldn’t know that my sons were en route to an evening in Fairfax and that a phone call from the police might send me to my anxious place. I tried to use my inside voice, explaining that it was dinner time and my rodeo days were long behind me.
I suppose there was little I could say to him that was more punishing than hawking rodeo tickets, but I was willing to give it a shot.