There is a small part of me that wishes that phone calls with my parents were normal. That is, that there would be a beginning, a middle, and an end that didn't involve one or more of us being drunk, and that there would be meaningful and understandable dialogue. This is never the case.
Here's a bit of what I can remember of a recent phone call with my parents.
The scene is the dining room of Lord Fondleberries lovely seaside home in a north shore subburb of Boston, MA. It is late but not bed time late.
Lord F is fairly well sloshed on cheap, old wine. He's on the phone, long distance, when the call waiting kicks in.
The phone: Annoying digital beep. Fucking annoying digital beep.
Lord F pulls the phone from his ear to look at the caller ID window: The parentals. Shit. Double shit, fuck, shit, and more shit. Fuck.
Uses internal voice Now, I know that Heather wants this call to be from my wonderfully oedipal mother. She wants my mom to say that she's got the perfect color theme-matching dress for the wedding, and that it's not teal, or mauve, or, fuck forbid, white, and that it doesn't have a sweep that would require no fewer than four midgets to carry it down the aisle. This would certainly end Heather's anxiety about my mother making a rediculously dramatic scene. Alas, I just know that this isn't the case, so I ignore the beep.
Lord F finishes the current conversation and hangs up the phone. Minutes later . . .
The phone: Ringgggg! Ringggg! In Samuel L. Jackson voice Hey, I said, Ring, bitch! The caller ID displays the parentals.
Lord F: Awww fuck.
More ringy, ringy from the phone.
Lord F Uses passive aggressive voice: Huh-Hello?
Dad Uses Darth Vader Voice, sans heavy breathing: Son. This. Is. The Father.
Lord F thinking he's using his internal voice, but speaking aloud: Awwww fuck. Why is it him? It can't be. He only calls when my ass needs to be on the line (read: beaten) for some pro-fill-in-the-anti-Republicunt-blank-here-shit, and he needs to tell me so. And I haven't marched for any Liberal causes lately, well, I am voting for Hillary and/or Obama in 2008, but he can't know that. It fucking can't be him. Suddenly realizing he's talking out loud. Oh, shit.
Lord F: What? Nothing. I mean, huh-ehem-hi. Dude. (Dude?! I called him fucking dude. Shit, my liberal ass is fucked.)
Dad: Hi, son.
Lord F uses his internal voice internally thank fuck: Praise shit, he's hammered and didn't notice that I called him dude. Yay me! I'm slipping that in at least once more. Dude. Heh heh.
Dad slurring wildly now: Son. I need your help.
Lord F also slurring: Ok, go ahead.
Dad: Our credit card's been robbed.
Lord F uses internal voice: Our credit card's been robbed? We have a credit card together? And it's been broken into? Wait, he must think he's talking to my brother. They did give my 28 year-old brother a credit card for Christmas last year. It must be that.
Dad slurring: Son? You there? You hear what I say? It's been robbed into. On the internet. In London. Hello?
Lord F somewhat confused and/or pissed, and definitely drunk: Well whaddayou want me to do about it, I can't fix the internet, ya know. You better cancel that card, though. Understand? Shut it down! Now!
Dad: What? Cancel it?
Lord F: Shut it down, man! You have to get on that. Now!
Dad: Ok . . . ok . . . o . . . k. Slurps Jack Daniels and sighs.
Lord F: You get that? 'Cuz they'll get your bank account number and take all your money. Mumbling now. And I'm not taking you fuckers in.
On Dad's end of the line there is loud whispering and the sound of ice swirling around in a glass and hitting the side of the glass (chink chink).
Lord F: Shit. Mom.
Dad: Son. I'm handing you to the mother. Tell her what she needs to do. Laughs. You know me, son, I won't remember this in the morning, you know? It's my age. Not as spry as I used to be.
Lord F internal voice: You were spry? So many creepy and gross thoughts.
Dad: Ok, I'm putting your mother on. Shouts Mom?
Mom slurring so much she's barely intelligible: Hel-- Ha-- Helllllo?
Lord F: Hi.
Mom: Ok. How you? Good. Laughs.
Lord F because he's drunk, he can no longer mask his Boston accent: Look. Mah. Dad says yaw cahd got robbed.
Mom giggling: Mmmm hmmm. Sips from a glass.
Lord F: Can you hear me?
Mom: Yup. I think you are too.
Lord F: What? Jesus.
Mom: Why? You know what I love you ok?
Lord F: Yah. Great. Look, you gotta listen, ok?
Mom sighs and tries to shake of her drunkenness: Ok. I yam.
Lord F: Ya gotta go ta the website and shut off yaw credit cahd, ok?
Lord F speaks slower and consequently slurs more: T o t h a s i t e. Cancel. Yaw. Cahd.
Mom incredibly confused and drunk: Where's your father? Dad? Dad?
Lord F: No Mah, he said to you wants to remember. Ok? You gotta do it, he can't anymore. Ok?
Mom: Yup. I got it.
Lord F: Got what?
Mom: I'll be the website for your father and he'll do the cahd. In the morning, ok? He's so sexy, I like him for it. You know what I'm saying?
Lord F: What? Good god, I don't need to hear that. There's not enough therapy in the world for me to hear that.
Lord F: Listen, did you get what I said, about the cahd? Close it down at the website. Call me in the morning. I'm going to bed.
Lord F hangs up the phone and passes out face down at the desk.