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Waiting By The Phone


A few days ago I wrote about the prehistoric times of my youth when phones were attached to walls with cords, an inconvenience when you were trying to have a private conversation with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and your parents wouldn’t leave the room. I got to thinking about that today and the expression “waiting by the phone” came to mind. It’s what I’m calling my piece of art for tonight. I sat my twenty-two year old son down and explained my work to him. When I was a teenager if a boy said he was going to call you, you waited in your house, usually in your kitchen for that phone to ring. You didn’t go out with your friends, pleaded with your mother to let you stay behind instead of accompanying her to the grocery store, you sat and waited for that phone to ring. It would ring, and your excitement was palpable, you would rush breathlessly to be the one to answer, trying in that moment to sound careless and mature, and it was…your grandmother, or your aunt, or your mom’s best friend. A piece of you would die as you silently pleaded with your mother to hang up, how could she not realize that your entire existence relied on that call from that boy? Didn’t she remember what it was like to be young? Of course not, parents were never young. No call waiting, no answering machines, no cell phones, your entire romantic life depended on that phone, and to think he might call and get a busy signal was devastating. What if he didn’t call back? What if he called another girl because you didn’t answer yours? I realized that my children have never and will never experience that. I see six-year olds with iPhones. In this instantaneous world we live in with tweets, instagrams, and Facebook, our children are losing a little of the romance of the phone. Sure it’s still a thrill when that call comes, but think about having your entire world revolve around that call, when you had to sit and patiently wait to hear the voice on the other end of the line. There is a romance in that, unlike the call that comes at the mall when you are hanging out with your friends. Our kids are so accustomed to instant gratification that they are losing out on some of the best times, the best memories. Years ago Brian asked what we did when we were kids. He assumed that we were bored, no DVDs, no video games, no iPods or iPads.  We told him we were never bored, we had our imaginations, the same imaginations that we used dreaming, waiting for the ring of the telephone.IMG_1020


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