“Holy shit,” I said to no one at all. “That really HURTS.”
I was referring to my back and my left hip (aka “the good one”). It was early. Although morning often is accompanied by stiffness and pain, I don’t normally wake up with quite such a jolt.
Rolling slowly out of bed, I tried to remember what I’d been dreaming about. Something about cats made of smoke and a clothesline that was part of a computer game. And a shrink who offered to scratch my back but couldn’t seem to find the right spot.
I took a couple of Excedrin and a muscle relaxant, rearranged the bed and tucked myself for a few more hours of sleep. Except, I was awake. So I went back to reading Martha Kennedy’s “The Brothers Path,” reconnecting with the Reformation and all it implies in that faraway land of Switzerland. Eventually, sleep crept back, so I bookmarked my spot, and drifted off.
The phone rang. Of course. I looked at the caller ID. It showed a local number. This in no way meant it was a local call. Scamming technology often shows local numbers on my Caller ID. Yesterday, it showed me Garry was calling. Since he was sitting next to me watching a ball game, I doubted it.
I answered the phone in what has become my typical surly morning greeting: “Who are you and what do you want?”
There was no response. A bit of crackle on the line, but no voice. Not even a recording. I hung up. More accurately, pressed “off.” I get a lot of these “nobody there” calls and I wonder what they are really trying to find out.
It was my second moment of realization for the morning. I no longer expect a ringing phone to herald communication from a friend … or even a return call from someone with whom I do business. I actually expect all calls to be some kind of scam, survey, sales pitch … or a call trying to collect money from someone who hasn’t lived here in years. All of these are recorded messages, so I can’t even tell them to go away and leave me alone.
I have utterly abandoned good telephone manners. Telephones are longer a way to communicate, except when I’m the one making the call. Otherwise, it’s just annoying, intrusive, or (and) yet another attempt to steal personal information someone can use to hack my accounts, or steal my identity.
I can’t make them stop calling because they never call from the same number twice and the number that shows on the Caller ID is fake. There’s nothing to report.
It was the final morning realization — how misuse of technology steals pieces of our lives. It’s not that technology isn’t a good thing. Technology is neither good nor bad. It’s just a thing. It’s the stuff people do with it that’s wicked. It may seem a minor detail in view of the many awful things going on in the world, but I can remember waiting with pleasant anticipation for the phone to ring.
That little pleasure is gone, a poignant reminder how life has changed, but not for the better.