When you were a kid did you ever do the thing, “I think I hear my mother calling”? It was a useful gambit when some bullies were threatening or a neighbor asked for help weeding her garden or a girl gave me the fish eye after a perfectly good joke. Well, I discovered a variation on the theme, the other day, when a guy at the retirement home tried downloading his sad family story. At first, I was polite and he took it as interest (or maybe he didn’t really care if I was interested…just needed to ventilate) as he recounted the sibling rivalry with a sister four states away. We all need to listen to others as we would have them listen unto us. So, I listened. Then he got onto his mother and then his brother. By then I had stopped nodding and ‘uh-huhing.’ I mean, there are professional people who get paid to listen to these kinds of tales-of-woe.
Look, I’m a professional photographer. I can watch people on the beach aiming their cell phones at egrets and shells and splash-diving pelicans. Everyone thinks they’re a photographer with unlimited digital exposures at their disposal. Timing, selectivity is called for. Same with telling jokes…but I digress.
So, how to curtail my fellow resident’s screed? I couldn’t claim to hear my mother calling. I’m not a licensed psychic. Just then my cell phone buzzed in my hearing aid. An update from my bank. I got an idea. I put my hand to my ear and nodded, saying, “Okay, dear, sure.”
I looked at my old-newscaster and said, “It’s my daughter. My granddaughter wants to talk to me.”
The guy nodded and walked away, calling “to be continued,’ over his shoulder. Not if I can help it, I thought, as long as I got my cell phone ‘calling’ me when I need it.
Retired trainer, and writing instructor, Joe Novara lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Writings include novels, short stories, a memoir and various poems, plays, anthologies and articles. In, Pinata Belly, and other tales of later love, Novara reminds of the limits and ultimate hope for online dating sites.