“Let me curl up on the couch for a nice Zoom with my friend Sarah” said nobody. Okay, maybe someone with a friend named Sarah somewhere once said it.
When I want to call my friend Sarah, she doesn’t require an appointment and as matter of fact, clothing is optional. I just curl up on the couch next to my dog, River, who seems to enjoy the fact that I’m no longer arting at the counter and can now be physically close to him. If Sarah’s available, she will probably answer and if not, she’ll probably call me back.
Okay, sure I want to get nostalgic and talk about telephones; how I can still remember my childhood phone number even though it’s been 40 years since I’ve had to use it, the ladies with the nice voices who answered, “Directory Assistance, How may I help you?” walking around from room to room to see which phone was off the hook as evidenced by a sound that was almost as annoying as the clappy hold music at your doctor’s office.
“Thanks for the memories Shelley,” I hear you thinking to yourself.
“You’re welcome,” I think back at you.
“Not the clappy one,” you think.
“I got you,” I think back at you.
I want to drive us back down the forgotten roads of, “At the tone, the time will be…” and tell you how I used to imitate that voice so well, I was asked by many a friend to please call so and so and do that impression for them. Okay, maybe only one friend, and who knows, she may be the same friend who can’t wait to curl up on the couch for a good Zoom with her friend Sarah.
How about the things we don’t hear anymore including;
“Get off my line.”
“Do you know how much that will cost? That’s a toll call.”
“Use the phone book.”
When was the last time you heard the crash of a receiver? That’s a memory I don’t want to relive.
I’ve realized and maybe you have too that in a world that can feel noisy, as tangled up a an old phone cord and sometimes hard, inviting gentleness into my life feels extra good, inviting quiet into my life feels extra better, inviting intimacy into my relationships feels really nourishing. And cultivating joy? Well, that’s my jam!
There is joy in a phone call with no appointment required, no calendar confusions and no thinking about time zones. I have an 84-year old mother across the country and our relationship has never felt better. While we do email and I send her my art of the day, to hear her voice on the other end of the phone, maybe the first voice I ever heard and probably the first voice to say my name is definitely worthy of a couch curl up.
I really try to give good phone and by this, I mean, give you my full presence and at least tell you if I’m unable to do so. Try me! And by the way, you will rarely if ever get a busy signal, however; I may fake you out with a very precise rendition of, “The number you have reached has been disconnected. The new number is 555-555-5555. Please make a note of it,” which you will never do because Sarah’s number has been embedded in your brain for years.
Friendship = no appointment required.
Art by Shelley Brown