My Dad has a cell phone but it might as well be a shoe horn or a banana. He turns it off when he's not using it and there is nothing you can say, nothing, to stop him from doing this. He powers off. He loves powering off. He loves it so much he says it out loud to himself under his breath every time he does it.
"Dad, now the person you just left that long voice message to isn't going to get through when he calls you back".
We stare at each other in silence for 7 seconds, an eternity during which we each consider unanswerable and mysterious questions of life, and then he shuffles past me to go put the phone back into the top drawer of his desk.
"Hi Dad" this is how I answer when he calls.
"Dad, can you hear me?"
"Hello?" he says it the way you do when you walk into a creepy abandoned house by yourself at night.
"Who is this?"
"Woodland Hills Funeral Home, can I help you?"
He's laughing now. "All right," He's chuckling. He could do this all day. "Well, nice talking to ya".
"Yeah, you too". Just for fun, just to go to the end of the joke, we both hang up.
While I wait for him to call back I imagine him looking at the tiny little thing in his hand, tilting his head back so he can see it better, pressing each number with one finger. When I answer this time he says "Come get me out of here". (for the record, he is calling from home)
"Where do you want to go?"
He thinks. I can hear him thinking, I can hear him considering this as though for the first time in his life. "Hmm"
"You want to go to the Clew?"
"What's the Clew?"
"You know, where you drink champagne, wear gold chain, make it rain".
"Nah..." he keeps thinking; he snorts as an afterthought, he knows what I'm saying, but this is serious business, this is a date, this is lunch. He keeps researching his files, "What's that Tomato place?"
"The Tomato Patch?"
"No, I don't want to go there".
"How about sushi".
After a long pause he says,"Yeah, okay". He says it like he'll have to settle for that. "Sushi. Okay. That's fine". And then, before I have a chance to figure out the time and the day, he says "See ya later. Love you".
to be continued...