I don’t run for the phone anymore.
It rang this morning around seven o’clock, and Scott nearly killed himself leaping out of bed, stumbling around corners, trying to reach it before it quit ringing.
Perhaps it was an important call, one he’d been waiting for, but more likely his urgency was a vestige of the days when we didn’t have call display or an answering machine and if the ringing stopped before you got to the phone, you’d never know who was on the other end of the line unless they called again. The mystery and the missed “opportunity” would be felt as a loss. And so when the phone rang, you dropped whatever you were doing and ran for it.
I don’t bolt from the tub and scamper dripping across the floor to answer the phone. I don’t jump up to answer it when I’m in the middle of something interesting on television or if I’m sitting down to a meal. I try to ignore it if it rings while we have company; I feel it’s rude to be talking to a caller when there are guests in my living room, unless it’s to say a brief “I’ll call you back later.” Sometimes I don’t answer it because my hands are in dishwater or in bread dough. Occasionally I don’t answer it because the call isn’t for me and the answering machine can take a message as well as I can; and sometimes I simply don’t feel like chatting. I never worry that I’m missing an emergency call, for I know that when there is something important to know right now, the caller will either leave a message or call back very soon.
There are those who believe this is arrogant behaviour on my part. And to those people I say, you go ahead and be a slave to whoever feels like calling you whenever they feel like calling you. If you think that what you do with particular moments of your time should be up to someone else, and that you are above reproach only when you are at the beck and call of another who has decided that right this minute they feel like talking to you … I am kind of sorry for you. Me, I’ll decide when and if I’m answering calls, and why. It seems to me that no one must be available to whoever, whenever. Choosing not to answer the phone is not tantamount to displaying bad manners or disrespecting a caller; it’s a healthy sign of respecting one’s own right to choose who you will give your attention to and when.
The wrens have returned and are making their usual nest in this little house in the oak tree nearest our picture window. I took these photos through the glass. These tiny birds blend in so well it’s difficult to see them, isn’t it? It may help to click on the photos and enlarge them.
The goldfinches have also arrived from their migration and are particularly excited about the feeders I keep filled with sunflower seed purchased from a local farmer. They seem to have a lot to say. I made a fire in the silver bowl I dragged onto the front lawn last night and sat there for a couple hours just gazing at the flames and listening to the birds. Such an abundance and variety! Along with the perfect temperature, a windless evening, and no mosquitoes to speak of (yet), it was heaven for me. I’d bought wienies to roast, so those and a tossed salad were supper.
To be honest, I didn’t actually sit there the whole time. I picked up a spade and dug up some volunteer delphiniums and moved them to flower pots that are crowded around the foot of the power pole, where they will live or die or be unearthed by Goddamn Dog. I filled an old aluminum pot with water from the rain barrel and gave my rosebushes a drink. I sauntered slowly past one of the perennial beds, considering whether to carry out my plan to remove all the blue flax because when it’s not blooming, when it keeps its flowers closed on cloudy days, it just looks like a weed. I don’t really want it in the front of the flower bed anymore.
But I must take care not to jump the gun and dig too much, for there are many plants that aren’t up yet and I don’t want to damage them by not remembering exactly what’s where. So I held off and perused instead, cold beer in hand.