While returning a call to my dear mother last evening, it was quite simple recognizing when she doesn’t recognize the voice of her youngest son, or when her hearing aid is beneath the couch cushions. On the other hand, perhaps, she was just messing with me.
(She picks up her phone before the first ring ends. Even at the age of one hundred and something, she still has cheetah like quickness when answering anything…..and that’s when it all began sinking into the cellphone call abyss)
Me: Hi, mom, this is Ben!
Me: Ben! Your youngest son!
Mom: Oh, hi, Anne! (one of my older sisters)
Me: (taking a deep breath) Put in your hearing aid, mom!
Mom: Hang on, Anne, I’m going to go put in my hearing aid.
Me: (giving up) Ok.
Me: (screaming) Ok!
Now, I was beginning to chuckle and think about whether I should play what remains of our phone call off as my sister, Anne. Then, I thought further, and questioned, at the age of forty, did I miss puberty all together? How could I sound like one of my sisters?
For years, I have been a pill, (mom’s word replacing A-hole) because I could carry entire conversations with her while impersonating brothers Tom, Greg, Aaron, Glenn, Steve or Mike. This next conversation left me perplexed. Never once had I held a conversation with mom feeling compelled to portray the voice of one of my six older sisters. Deciding to reclaim my true identity, I thought I should play it straight, mostly because Anne wouldn’t want to talk about the baseball playoffs as much as me……and I knew that’s why Mother had called me in the first place. Dead giveaway. Waiting for her to return, I also wondered why she didn’t look at her phone before answering to recognize it was Ben and not Anne making the call. Then, I remembered she is also illegally blind. (She needs to upgrade her Jitterbug phone designed for the elderly, replacing it with the new Helen Keller phone) However, finally giving her credit, sometimes, I believe she decides when to hear or see whenever she damn well pleases. She’s earned that right. Shrewdly, I think she was just getting back at all those years of me tormenting her. Bravo. She’s always maintained a keen and wonderful sense of humor.
Finally, we begin our second conversation.
Mom: Are you still there?
Me: Yes, mother.
Mom: Oh, this is Ben…….are you watching baseball?
Me: Oh yeah, here and there. (I had just planted my ass on the couch for nine straight hours of baseball, but I didn’t want her or my wife to believe I wasn’t working)
We went on to have a terrific conversation about the Pirates, Dodgers, Red Sox and the Braves. She loves her baseball more than me. Let me rephrase that so I can feel better about our relationship. She loves her baseball more than I love my baseball. Ending our conversation with the genuine “How is your wife, Brittney, and I love you” we ultimately finished with this.
Me: Ok, goodbye, mom.
Mom: Ok, goodbye, Glenn…………..Oh shoot! I mean Ben.
It’s always fun to end a phone call with laughter. Those are the best goodbyes.