Mum on How Leaving a Message Should Work
Phone rings: I’m neck deep in deadline. Answering machine picks up. I listen.
Mum: Hi only me. Just letting you know Jason (my nephew) is home from school with concussion (from a rugby accident the previous day that I’m aware of). No need to call back.
Me: (I hear that and keep on keeping on. Hours later, I phone back). Hi, how’s Jace?
Mum: I called you six hours ago.
Me: (Look at clock — yes maybe… does seem like a long time ago). Yes, okay.
Mum: Well, why did it take so long to call back?
Me: You said there was no need to.
Mum: Well, I didn’t mean that.
Me: All right, so how is Jace?
Mum: What if it was serious?
Me: Concussion is serious.
Mum: No, what if I had bad news to tell you and it took you six hours to ring back.
Me: But you left a message so I knew what the news was.
Mum: What if your father was dead?
Mum: What if your father was dead and I didn’t want to leave a horrible message like that. Would it take you six hours to return my call?
Mum: Well would it?
Me: I’m sure if it was something serious you’d say — ring me back urgently, not no need to call back.
Mum: But I wanted you to call back.
Me: And I have.
Mum: But that was this morning and now it’s night. Your father would’ve been dead a whole day.
Me: Is there anything wrong with Dad?
Mum: No. Why are you asking that?
Me: Oh I don’t know, perhaps because you keep going on about him being dead.
Mum: Well he’s not.
Me: Good to know.
Mum: Don’t you think I’d tell you if he was?
Me: I’m no longer sure of anything.
Mum: What’s that supposed to mean?
Me: Never mind.
Mum: So I just want you to ring back quicker. I can’t see why it had to take you so long.
Me: You saying there was no need to call back might’ve had something to do with it. Plus I’m working. You know that thing I do to pay the bills.
Mum: You can’t take what I say on a message as the only thing.
Me: Are you trying to tell me Dad is dead in a really roundabout way so as not to upset me?
Mum: (Laughing) No.
Me: So what you’re saying is you’re annoyed that I didn’t ring back quickly enough even though you said there was no need and I was busy.
Mum: What were you busy with?
Me: Does it matter?
Mum: No, you should’ve called me back quicker anyway.
Me: Because what you say on the answering machine might not be the truth
Mum: I’m hardly going to leave a message and lie am I?
Mum: What if I don’t leave any message?
Me: What do you mean?
Mum: How long will it take you if I don’t leave any message?
Me: On my office phone?
Mum: Yes. Where I always leave messages.
Me: Okay, so if you don’t leave a message I probably won’t call you back.
Mum: I knew it.
Me: What do you know?
Mum: You’re awful.
Me: Because if you don’t leave a message I won’t call you back.
Me: Can you see anything odd with that?
Mum: No, it’s typical you.
Me: So now you’re upset because if you ring me and don’t leave a message I won’t call you back.
Me: That’s a bit unfair.
Me: If you don’t leave a message how am I supposed to know you’ve called. It’s not like my mobile. It’s like your phone. It doesn’t show numbers that have called and not left messages.
Mum: Oh. Well then, that’s stupid.
Me: Yes it is. When I next buy a phone I’ll make sure it shows missed calls so that you can ring me, not leave a message and I can ring you back.
Mum: That sounds silly — why wouldn’t I just leave a message?
Me: A message that might not be the actual real message.
Mum: (Laughing) You think you’re so smart don’t you.
Me: If I was so smart I’ve never have waited to ring you back.
Mum: See, now you’ve got the message.