Our 17 year old daughter is a junior in high school. Let's name her LaVern because she really is pretty dingy some days.
Every day LaVern calls me from school for something. Usually it's to come home for the afternoon seeing how all of her classes end at 12:50. From 12:50 until 3pm she sits in study halls. Sounds mighty boring even to me. Personally, I'd just go to sleep. LaVern is kind of on that same page, so she calls me.
Every time I answer the phone she says the typical "hi, mom." To which I would reply something like "hey, what's up?" Not that I don't already know-we repeat this every. single. day. This is where I expect to hear "will you call and let me come home?" But why would one of MY children make life simple and do the logical?
I think they know they have to give me fodder for my ramblings.
Instead of stating what she wants (while she is in the office on the office phone) she thinks she needs to have this casual conversation with me. "What ya' doin?" Do you REALLY want to know what I am doing? Because if I tell you we'll be here for hours and I am pretty sure Phyllis (the secretary) would like her phone back. She has a JOB to do AND she has to answer all of the phone calls coming in to the school. On the phone you have in your hand. If you've read to this point in this blog we all know that I don't actually SAY this, it's just what is running through my head.
I've gotten tired of this routine. But it wasn't always so. Once upon a time I'd have said "Working on yesterday's work for CA(my business), payroll for RGF(Ragnar's business), several sales for CC(dad's business) and then I am going to tackle the mess you left in the bathroom this morning. What you doin'?" To which LaVern would have answered "OH."
"Can I help you?"
Which is where LaVern would remember that she really did call me because she wanted something and reply "yeah. Well, can you call Phyllis (who is sitting there listening to the whole conversation. WHY she can't just hand the phone to Phyllis is beyond my comprehension) and let me come home instead of sitting in study hall?"
Here is where you get to see how the kids all got this stupid gene...
I'd ask her "WHY?" I REALLY did that-many times.
Well, DUH! Because she has 2 hours of study hall and nothing to do. Would you want to sit in study hall for 2 hours when you could come home and do your homework in your own room with all of your favorite creature comforts and great junk food to snack on? NO. I didn't think so. But me? NO!! I have to ask her" WHY." I'll bet I did that 50 times before I quit. And it's not that I didn't know why. I did. From day 1 I knew WHY and totally understood it. I guess I just felt I had to answer a question with a question.
WAIT... let's take this backward one more step beyond my own Stupid Gene.
Miss LaVern is one of THOSE students. The one all of the teachers just love-and not because she's the straight A, goody-two-shoes type either. She's full of common sense and pith. God only knows where she got that from. She says things how they are and the teachers find her charming, hilarious and absolutely a joy to be around. Glad I did something right!
However, seeing how the teachers love Miss LaVern so much they let her get away with MURDER. If she wants to go wander about and visit her favorite teachers? OK, go right ahead! When the hall monitors find her without a pass? She simply tells them she's in So-and-So's class and So-and-So said she could go see Whose-it's-bod down the hall. AND THEY LET HER GO!
She's also 'special.' Seeing how she has 2 hours of study hall and they know she doesn't have anything to do SHE'S ALLOWED TO HAVE HER PHONE! In our school they are SUPPOSED to keep their phones in the lockers. Not my kid. Noooooo, she'd be bored so she can have her phone. Of course, all of her friends don't have this luxury privilege so they are in classes without their phones. LaVern has no one to text. Except me! Because we all know I am at home eating bon bon's and just pining away for someone to text me.
Did you ever notice that it takes a half hour to have a text conversation that would take 2 minutes if they'd just call? And NOTHING else gets done in that 30 minutes. Ooops! I forgot. I don't have anything else to do besides wait on her texts.
Twelve text messages later (when I finally figure out that she's not going to quit bugging and I have gotten NOTHING done) I FINALLY tell her that I've really got to go get something accomplished. This is when she goes to Phyllis' office to call me.
Which leads us back to the actual topic of this post: The Phone Conversation. See paragraphs # 1-4 if you have lost track of what I am rambling about today.
She calls and we go through the hello routine and she asks "what ya doin?" I've quit answering that. C'mon. You want something, get to the point here. Instead of the expected "nothing" or actually telling her what I am doing I now answer with "what do you want?"
I know this sounds rude, but really. I know if she is calling from Phyllis' office she wants something and USUALLY I know exactly what it is. There have been times when she's called for something else. It's rare, but it does happen. So, c'mon now, you're tying up Phyllis' phone and we're not here to chat and catch up on my day. Spit it out and tell me what you NEEEEEED me to do now.
LaVern's answer to that? "Well, if you are in a bad mood then I guess nothing." Then silence. Not "goodbye" or even getting huffy and hanging up. She waits. What the heck is she waiting for? Me to tell her what I am doing? Because frankly, she doesn't give a damn what I am doing, she just wants to come home. So, SPIT IT OUT for God's sake! Noooo, she waits until I respond with my very soft, quiet sing-song voice of "La-veeerneeee, what do you need?"
Usually when that voice comes out they KNOW. If I am yelling I am harmless, but when I am dead quiet, calm? RUN LIKE HELL. Not LaVern. In her 17 year old wisdom she knows she's out of reach of the hairy eyeball and my talons. In her happy voice she finally spits it out. We can just cut and paste most of paragraph 8 right here: "Well, can you call Phyllis (who is sitting there listening to the whole conversation. WHY she can't just hand the phone to Phyllis is beyond my comprehension) and let me come home instead of sitting in study hall?"
To which I reply "OK." She says "goodbye." And I have to call Phyllis back-with LaVern standing right there. Could she hand the phone to Phyllis? NOPE. Gotta hang up and have me call. I have Phyllis on speed dial.
So, what I want to know today is this: WHY can't we have a simple conversation that goes something like this:
L: "hey, Mom"
M: "Hey, LaVern, what's up?"
L: "I'm in Phyllis' office, can you tell her to let me sign out so I can come home?"
M: "Sure, hand the phone to Phyllis..." <insert conversation with Phyllis>
LaVern gets in her little red hoopty car and comes home. The end. Less than 5 minutes.
Why must this be so complicated? I know I work in a LOT of spare time in my days, but it's MY time. If no one is home? It's more precious than gold and diamonds!! Don't you DARE try to take it!!! This is my mini vacation that gets me through the rest of the day! Say what you have to say and get it over with!