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Ann Cannon: If you call my house, don't expect an answer

Published October 1, 2011 11:28 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Do you ever do something and then ask yourself why you did it?

That's what I'm doing right now. Here's what happened:

The telephone rang at our house, and I did what I always do: I screamed, "I'LL GET IT! I'LL GET IT! I'LL GET IT!" And then I hurtled toward the phone like a first responder.

From my behavior, you would have thought that particular phone call was the most important phone call in the history of the world. I was acting like the president of the United States was calling me. Or like someone was calling to say I'd won the lottery. Or like the president of the United States was calling to say I'd won the lottery, which would be so awesome.

Thank you, President Obama!

But here's the deal. I always act like that. Whenever the phone rings, I immediately shift into five-alarm-I-better-get-that-phone-because-if-I-don't-someone-will-die-and-it-will-be-all-my-fault mode. And then I go racing through the house with sirens wailing and emergency lights flashing.

This time, however, I nearly broke my neck trying to get to the phone. I tripped over our Newfoundland[1] who apparently does not understand you should pull off to the side of the hallway whenever first responders (named me) show up. And then I tripped over a stack of pillows that had somehow migrated to the floor.

That's when I went: Hello. What is this all about?

Do I think I'm doing family members a favor by rushing to the phone so they don't have to?

And here's what I realized. I'm not doing them a favor because they wouldn't answer the telephone anyway.

I don't know how it is at su casa, but at mi casa the residents feel absolutely no sense of urgency when the telephone rings. None! They're just all whatever. Land lines are lame. If you wanna chat, catch me on my cell. Or better yet, text. That way we won't have to waste any energy moving our lips.

I'd like to say this is a purely generational thing, but the truth is my parents, who are 80, don't always answer their land line either, because they're too busy messing around with their iPads and texting their grandchildren.

(Actually, my mother is an accomplished texter. She's always sending the grandkids messages like this: U R AWESOME or LUV U 2 BITS.)

You know what the real problem is? I am a creature of habit, of conditioned responses not unlike Pavlov's dogs. I keep acting like it's 20 years ago. I leave messages on answering machines, I watch TV in real time instead of using a DVR, I even write checks occasionally.

I know! Checks!

I have turned into the modern equivalent of the little old lady we all knew who used to ride the bus to the power company downtown so she could pay her bill in person.

Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Is this a stupid thing? Hmmmmm.

Should I change? Maybe. Will I? The jury is still out.

But one thing's for sure. From now on, please call me on my cell.

[1] Newfoundland: Insanely large hairy dog that drools a lot and saves people from drowning if drowning people can manage to get the dog's attention. Also a province in Canada.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/columnistcannon.






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