Monday, October 1, 2018

phone small talk is torture

It was, naturally, my mother who originally drove me into the habit of turning my phone off after a certain hour. It wasn’t the pure, simple boundary enforcement strategy: since you insist on calling me late even though I’ve asked you not to, I just won’t pick up. That wasn’t enough because then I’d get these annoying messages about where I was or was I in bed so early; wasn’t worth it. But as my mother got nastier and more vindictive—there was one conversation in party that riled me up just as I was going to bed and I said, fuck it, I’m just not going to take their calls after 8pm, I don’t care how many passive-aggressive messages they leave me.

My dad is not my mom, but he was also unresponsive to my multiple requests not to call late. He also riles me up, though inadvertently. And he also doesn’t understand the concept of  introversion in general or my not wanting to “chat,” pretty much ever. Chatting is not what I do. I’ll catch up, by phone, with friends I haven’t talked to in a while, but daily “what’s going on and how’s the weather” is my personal definition of hell. Nor does he respond to hints or reminders that a call can’t be long; in that way he’s almost just like my mother. He’s a little better; mom couldn’t take “is it an emergency? No? Then not now.” Her response to that would be something like, “can you believe Smith called asking for money?” “Not an emergency, mom.” “But...” “BYE.”

Dad will file me up in different ways, often because I’m tired and trying to do remote tech support and he’s just not listening. Or he’s otherwise just not listening. Or he’s small-talking at 10:45pm and I’m not here for it. It’s late. My battery’s dying. I still have a sore throat. You know all that. I’m sorry but can the status of the crabapples wait until tomorrow?

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