Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rudeness on the Telephone

I've tackled mobile phones here once but now I've found rudeness on the home landline telephone. In my house, it is generally understood that telephone calls before 8am are reserved for emergencies and birthdays (or my lovely sister who is the exception b/c this is one of the few times we actually get to talk to each other with our busy schedules). When the telephone does ring that early it is usually one of the above circumstances or a telemarketer, so imagine my surprise when the other day, on answering the telephone, I heard my mother-in-law's voice on the other end. "Oh, are you getting ready for work?" she asked. "Yes, we are...." I trailed off, hoping she would take the hint. Of course, she did not take the hint and instead launched into her missive which had nothing to do with birthdays or emergencies and served as a general annoyance. I dealt with it for 20 minutes before passing her over to her own child, but in that 20 minutes my blood began to boil.

She had recognized we were busy with our morning rituals and yet she decided that her idle chat was more important; HER needs were more important than us getting to work on time. I imagine when telephones were first introduced, mother-in-laws everywhere were delighted by the opportunity this brought for them to intrude on their family's lives on a whim, without having to write a letter, knowing what they are doing at any moment. It made me wish that we still had telephone operators so that after my mother-in-law had disconnected I could have told the operator, whose name I imagine to be Fanny, please, Fanny dear, no telephone calls this early unless it is an emergency, and begged for Fanny's sympathies since in my fantasy she had of course been listening in on the mundane family gossip.

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