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Reflections October 2017

Laverne's View

Conflicted

By Laverne Bardy

My phone is trained to take messages. Am I a horrible person if I listen to someone leave a message, then make a mental note to return their call when it’s more convenient like, sometime before I die?

At the end of long, tiring days, when I’m talked out, bleary-eyed, and in need of total distraction, I go to Facebook. It’s there I laugh at jokes, savor aphorisms, read skewed political opinions, and learn valuable life lessons such as How to boil and peel an egg (Shame on me. I’ve been doing it wrong my entire life), and The correct way to fold socks — which takes three times longer than rolling them into a ball, the way I do because, personally, I don’t care if my socks are wrinkled.

It’s there I’ve been asked to pray for gravely ill strangers, individuals to pass tests, lame dogs to walk, and a turtle who wouldn't eat. One distraught dimwit put out a call for prayers when her nail had the audacity to break on a Sunday, and she couldn’t find a nail technician to repair it. I thought about the legions of needy, faceless Facebook strangers who were counting on my prayers, and opted not to waste one on her. She already had 23 Likes, and one Heart, so I figured she was covered.

I’ve received countless friend requests from men in uniform; each claiming to be American born, with the American flag on their cover page, but they barely speak English. One man wrote that he’s “looking for to love a woman. I have a son and my wife is late since two years ago.” If for no other reason, this man has to be admired for his incredible patience.

Facebook’s Messaging is the best thing to have happened to me since I had my eyebrows tattooed. It allows me to stay in touch with people I care about, and meet new people I otherwise wouldn’t. And, I can do it all on my own time schedule, at my own convenience. It is the solution to a lifetime of internal conflict concerning how to keep friends without having to talk to them.

It’s not that I don’t like my friends. I care deeply for them. But, am I morally bound to answer the phone if I’m involved in a project, or in the middle of creating the Great American Novel, even though that interruption would cause my thoughts to splinter into a million pieces that I would never be able to recreate?

My phone is trained to take messages. Am I a horrible person if I listen to someone leave a message, then make a mental note to return their call when it’s more convenient like, sometime before I die? And, when the doorbell rings, is it okay if I drop to the floor and freeze, until I’m sure they’ve left, the way I usually do? Or, must I stop what I’m doing, paste on a happy face, and be polite to the two well-dressed, bible-carrying men who aren’t in the slightest bit interested in the fact that I’m not in the slightest bit interested? And, do I have to open the door to cute little Girl Scouts selling cookies I don’t want? If I buy them, I eat them and get fat. Past attempts at hiding them from myself have been unsuccessful.

Mind you, I might be able to handle a phone interruption if it lasted five minutes, but an average phone call between female friends can last 45 minutes to an hour. Men don’t have this problem. They use the phone the way God intended: with a specific purpose in mind.

“Hi, Bob. Are you up for a round of golf Sunday?’  ...

Great. I’ll text you with the specifics.”

My idea of the perfect phone call length.

Mighty Marc received a call from his friend, Carl. When he hung up he looked at me and said, “Diane died.”

I gasped.

“What? When? What happened?”

“All I know is she’s dead.”

“But, she was only 85. Had she been ill? Did she suffer? Was she alone? When’s the funeral? I’ll have to buy a new black dress.”

“He didn’t say anything else.”

“Why didn’t you push for more details. Details are important.”

“No. They’re not. All you need to know is she’s dead.”   

I, of course, had to phone several friends at a cost of one hour per conversation.

So, if you’re interested in not spending endless time on the phone, go to Facebook. It enlightens, educates, creates and promotes friendships, precipitates laughter, provides purpose to otherwise lonely lives and, best of all, allows you to enjoy brief, written conversations at your leisure and convenience, without ever having to say a word.

 

Laverne's book, "How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?" is available at amazon.com and other online bookstores. Website: www.lavernebardy.com - E-mail her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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