Archives for November 2014

I Wrote Something and I Want To Read It To You

 

“Hey I wrote something and I want to read it to you”.

The voice on the telephone surprised me. It was my own.

At 9:15 this morning I picked up my phone and called a friend I had not spoken to in years. We had not been totally out of touch, of course, we see each other’s posts on Facebook and give Likes and sometimes comment so we are not totally out of touch, right?

“Uh, OK Pete, go ahead.” my friend said, clearing his throat a bit, “Sorry, I don’t think I’ve spoken out loud this morning until just now”.

As he said that I realized that I had not spoken out loud to another human in about 2 hours, and that was a quick “Good Morning” to a dog walking neighbor as I hopped into my car. I had gotten gas, visited the ATM, picked up a few items at the grocery store and having used the self check out, not had to speak to anyone in order to do so. Reflecting for a moment, I realized that the only other words I had spoken out loud this morning were to ask the cat if she really wanted to go out into the 23 degree chill. She did.

“Well, thanks for taking the call. I don’t think what I’m going to read would have fit into a voice mail message.”

“Yeah, and I never listen to those anyway” my friend replied.

His voice shocked me. He sounds older, hell, he almost sounds old! I wonder if I sound old to him? I wonder if I sound old to my wife and my daughter. I remember the first time my father sounded old to me on the phone. I had to sit down for a few minutes and just realize that the old man was actually old…

“So here goes”, I said, and read him the short piece I had just written. When I finished he said, “that’s really good. Where is that going to be published?”

“Oh I don’t know if it will be published anywhere really. Probably just on my blog, but I was imaging you as the reader when I wrote it and I thought about printing it out and stuffing it in an envelope and sending it to you.”

“Oh man, you should have! I haven’t gotten anything close to personal mail beyond a birthday card in so long I can’t remember.”

“Well, I still could I suppose”

“Please do. And maybe throw in a photo of the wife and kids, make it a totally retro flashback letter!”

We chatted a bit after that, promising each other that we would not let it ever go so long between phone calls again. We made a vague promise to get together sometime and shared a moment to remember a mutual friend who had died this past year.

“Yeah, I hadn’t talked to him since Al Gore won the election and he and the Supreme Court disagreed. What is that – like 14 years? Shit. How did that happen?” his voice trailed off.

“I don’t know man, it’s like a rocket sled down an icy mountain, faster and faster and no hope of stopping, and we just got this far because we were lucky enough to miss the trees. Well, so far anyway.”

“Oh I’m afraid there is a tree on that mountainside for us somewhere, there is no medals podium at the end of this run, but there certainly will be a finish line” he said expanding and extending my metaphor.

“You should right that down. Then call up a friend and read it to him.” I said, “Or mail it.”

“You know, I just might do that. Well, Pete, thanks for calling, see you on Facebook. Well, I’ll see the part of you that you want me to see anyway.”

After we hung up I sat there for a while, staring off into the middle distance, not focused on anything as my mind took me back to a place and time long ago and not too far away where my friend and I had shared hours upon hours doing everything and anything. Just spending time. Spending it with total abandon, like we would always have plenty of it and wasting a bit today didn’t matter at all, there would be more of it tomorrow.

Then I picked up my phone. “Hey, I wrote something and I want to read it to you.”

 

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