Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The case for a phone-free world...

Okay, so it all started last week with a phone call from my dad. "Stace!" he starts in a near frantic voice, "You've got to help me! It's Anthony! He's on the drugs." Let me take a minute to fill you in on why this is so damn funny to me. First of all, Anthony is my step-brother. We've been related for the last 20 years and I've spoken to him maybe a dozen times in all those years. Why dad thinks that I would possibly be helpful in this situation, is way beyond me. The second comical aspect to this conversation is the fact that my father has been know to use a LOT of drugs in his life-time so it's kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. On with the story...

So I ask all of the usual questions, what's he taking? how do you know? have you done an intervention? blah, blah, blah. He begs me to call and so I say that I will. It takes me four days to make the call because in all honesty, I have no clue what to say. Shocking, I know, for those who know me. So I finally cave and make the call and to my surprise, I actually have a GREAT conversation with my bro. I mean, he was making sense, he took responsibility for his use of prescription pain killers and was - in my opinion - sincere in his attempts to get help. Okay, so my job is done. My conscience is clear. As I'm about to get off the phone and pat myself on the back for a job well-done, he asks, "Can you call dad for me? Tell him that I want to come and see him. He won't answer my calls." I don't really want to make the call - the fewer conversations with dad, the better - that's my motto. But I cave and make the call. Plus, now I can get that approval from dad that I'm forever looking for because I've done what he asked and had positive results. Or so I thought... Dad is not ready to talk to Anthony and asks me to call Anthony and tell him not to come around. At this point I'm thankful for that unlimited long-distance calling plan I've got. I mean, I'm in NC they're in Florida, can't they make their own damn calls??? So now I call Anthony and relay the news and after a brief conversation, we're done. I am relieved to be out of picture.

In a perfect world, that would be the end. But the next day I get a call from my sister who is on a cruise to Bermuda with her boyfriend. "Stace! Is daddy dead?" Not a typical greeting, but my curiosity is piqued. "No, why?" I ask. "Because Anthony's called me three times and I refuse to answer it. Why would he be calling me three times unless is was bad news?" Now for the awkward part. In my conversings with Anthony, I let it slip that Karen sometimes takes some prescription "stuff". Now he's concerned that SHE has a drug problem!! Oy! So I explain that to her and she took it rather well. I was shocked. But as our conversation progressed, I realized that she doesn't really care because she's clearly on something RIGHT NOW!! On a deluxe cruise, she's sitting in her room, mid-day, eating spaghetti! Okay, that's normal. While we're talking, my husband calls on my cell-phone from Virginia where he's working complaining of a migraine. I feel bad and all but hey, I've got Bermuda on the line, I'll call you back. So we wrap things up, seriously, the spaghetti was the most exciting part of her cruise story, and her final request? "Hey, can you call Anthony and tell him to stop calling me?" For crying out loud!!! Being a good sister, I make the call - after I check on hubby (who is fine by this point). The conversation with bro goes fine and we actually bond. Who knew? While on the phone with him, my mom calls! She took Grandma to the doctor and there were some problems, please call back. A cold compress for my head, a fist-full of Advil and a strong drink are what I need most right now. Hang up with Anthony, call mom. I get the info on Grandma and it's not as dramatic as she'd made it sound on the answering machine and then she begins an argument with my nephew who she lives with. Actually, she lives with my sister (of the spaghetti/Bermuda cruise) and my nephew. That's a story for another day. They start arguing because he wants to have a party and since mom's away, he thinks he can con Nana into agreeing. His last party ended when one of his friends got thrown through the kitchen window. But I digress... they're fighting and finally mom says, "Stace! Talk to your godchild and tell him that he can't have a party!" I'm feeling pretty powerful at this point because clearly my family thinks that I have some magical powers that I can right all the wrongs in the world with just my voice. Pretty impressive. The boy could care less what his aunt who lives 600 miles away has to say (they're in NY) and he eventually just walks away from the phone. Mom is so disgusted, with him, not me, that we end our conversation with me wishing her good luck. Again, glad to be out of the picture.

Or so you would think. At 10 pm that night, I get a call from mom. "What's wrong?" I ask. "Well," she begins and she does not sound well,"I just had four fully loaded fire engines, three police squad cars and an ambulance leave the front yard!" Right now a body through the window is sounding good. Long story short - because it's just too ridiculous at this point - the boy and his three friends (all of the age of 19) were drinking in the yard and lit the portable fire pit and threw some sort of accelerant on it and the flames shot up higher than they should for about 5 seconds. My sister's soon-to-be-ex-husband (who lives next door and is not happy about his wife being on a cruise to Bermuda with her boyfriend) called the police about an "out of control fire" in the yard! No charges were filed, the boys hid their illegal beer before the fire-fighters stormed the yard (which is a good thing because in NY if you are caught drinking under the legal age in a private residence, the adult at home goes to jail). I think that would have thrown Nana over the edge for sure!

I'd love to meet the person who invented caller ID. I don't know how we've lived so long without it. Now if only I could remember to put it to good use and ignore when the family calls and not just for those pesky telemarketers!

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