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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Don't Call Us, We'll Kinda Call You

My mother and grandmother have had this silly tradition going for years now. I call it a tradition for a lack of a better term for it because what it is really is just plain weird.

When I was growing up my parents used to go to my grandparents house all the time. Inevitably after dinner and dessert it became time to go home and since my grandmother lives about 45 minutes away, she likes to know we got home safe.

Now up until this point I'm sure you're all with me. All of us have called a loved one to let them know we've arrived at our destination in one piece. We've also all being on the receiving end of said phone calls. No surprise here. But how many of us call our loved one only to hang up before they actually answer the phone?

This is the "ingenious" plan my mother and grandmother cooked up so many years ago. I don't know where or when it started, all is it's an idea that's been around a lot longer than me. I've tried to discover it's origin before but it's always in vain.

Imagine, if you will, the family arriving home safely after a nice Christmas dinner. My mom walks in and says "Oh, I have to call grandma." Seems normal enough, right? Only my mom picks up the phone and dials, letting it ring twice... then hanging up.

As the years have gone by I've had differing feelings on this system. When I was really little I didn't question it. Then as I got a little older I found it downright hysterical. Then I got even older than that and found it all a bit silly, but not in a laughing out loud sorta way. Now I'm somewhere between slightly amused and somewhat perturbed.

I realize this system "works" for them, but I can't help it. I always try and picture my grandmother on the receiving end of this phone call. The phone rings. So naturally she gets up. Only as she gets closer to the phone, it stops ringing. She chuckles to herself, "Ah, I guess they got home ok." If we were in a war where Morse code phone calling was a necessity, I'd understand but we're not.

Add to this the time factor. Did I mention my grandmother's age? Well, she's 89 years old. A highly active 89, but 89 nonetheless. So now we're having the women get up and get over to the phone only to not to have to get up at all. Now if these people had cell phones or Caller ID I'd understand because you can look nowadays and see just exactly who is calling you. But neither one of them have either one of these things so instead they go the old-fashioned route; premedicated pranking.

The best part is if if my mom calls my grandmother and actually lets her pick up, say if she forgot to tell her something. My grandmother always says, "What's wrong?!", all in a panic. Because apparently letting the phone ring is code for all is cool, while having to actually talk to the person is grounds for serious fatality.

Silly me has thrown caution to the wind and broken this tradition down completely. I will call my mom when I've gotten somewhere but I will actually talk to her and tell her this information myself. I mean after all, letting it ring two times already means my grandmother is home and we all know knocking three times on the ceiling means you want me and twice on the pipes means the answer is no. Adding anything else to the mix would just be too much to keep straight.



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