Telephone shows no mercy for sleepy college student
By H.G. Miller
know how it is. I´m just trying to sleep, enjoying my favorite
dream the one with the girl from English class, several sandy
beaches and the James Bond theme on repeat when the shrill ringing
of the telephone interrupts my quiet slumber.
Hi, this is the Lawrence Journal-World.
Yes, you called me yesterday.
But, today, we have an even better offer.
Click. I roll over and try to find my way back to dreamland. But no, it´s 10 a.m. and somebody else doesn´t want me to sleep.
Hi, it´s me, did I wake you?
Click. I´m not sure who that was, but I figure they´ll call back if it´s important. My only concern right now is the new set of powder-blue flannel sheets I have yet to fully break in. Ring. I turn and look at the telephone with an intense hatred that it seems to brush away without any feeling at all. It rings again.
Well, aren´t we grumpy.
Okay, this is family. I can deal with a heartfelt phone call from my mother. I´m sure she´s just worried about losing touch with me as the years pass by.
I just wanted to see if you were still coming home for Thanksgiving, she tells me.
She hasn´t quite figured out that free food is hard to come by, and I´ll always be willing to spend a few hours on crowded highways to get it. So, I tell her of course I´m coming.
What time do you think you´ll get here?
Click. Enough of that. Sleep above sentimentality, you know. I think it´s just some innate thing that guys are born with. Anyway, which side was I laying on? Ring.
Arg! I shout many expletives at the telephone, but the blasted thing keeps ringing anyway.
Hi, is your roommate home?
Is he ever home when you call at this time?
Well, I just thought...
Think about calling in the afternoon.
Click. This is becoming absurd. Why don´t I just turn off the ringer?
That´s a nice, logical solution to my problem. Now, if I can just find the little switch. Ring. I drop the phone in fright. It did that on purpose, I just know it.
Meanwhile, whoever it is on the other end of the line speaks to the dead air.
Hello? Hello? After a while, he gives up, and I hear the dial tone humming from the receiver as it lays on the floor. I cautiously kick it back into place and wait. Trying to turn off the ringer only upset it, what can I do now? Ring.
I decide to be aggressive. The time for hesitancy has passed and all that.
This had better be important, I say into the phone.
Come on, spit it out, I´ve got things to do.
Is this Mr. Miller?
It´s your lucky day.
Lay it on me.
We´re calling for donations to the policeman´s fund.
I donated $55 earlier this year.
Really? I don´t have your name on my list.
It´s on the ticket.
Click. Ring. I see. It´s a game now. All right, little phone, bring it on.
Are you okay?
I´m fine. What is it?
I can call back later, if it´s a bad time.
Look, I´m already up.
No, you don´t sound so good. I´ll call back later. Get some rest.
Click. Okay, I don´t find this funny at all. I pace my bedroom and try to think of some rational end to this episode. I´m in college, I should be able to figure this out. After a quick trip to the bathroom (I did just wake up, you know), I decide to attempt dismantling the ringer again. Maybe I can sneak up on the thing. For a moment, I think I may be losing my mind.
Then, it rings again.
I pick up the receiver, while getting a firm grasp of the line coming out of the wall jack. I try to speak calmly.
Hi. It´s your editor. I was just wondering if you were working on a column.
Yeah, I tell her. I´ve got an idea or two.
Great, do you think that...
H.G. Miller is a Hutchinson sophomore in English.