Many of the benefits to getting older lie in the realizations made, the if-this-then-that state of affairs that go unnoticed when we are young and busy chasing our own (and others’) tails.
One recent realization has left me scratching my head, frowning in a way destined to further furrow my brow, wishing, actually, that I’d not made the connection that I am now about to inflict on you, and that realization is that I am, apparently, a relaxing influence on some of my friends.
Relaxing: this is how I like to think of it. The reality, truth to tell, is a bit more disturbing than that.
It’s not too late to stop reading, you know.
Uh-oh. Now it is.
“Hey!” I love that phones tell you who is calling before you answer it.
“What do you want?” My phone manner is legendary. In a performance review a number of years ago, my boss, who I loved dearly, told me, “The only negative comment I can make regarding your performance is that you sometimes come off as brusque. You need to work on being fuzzier.”
I reconsider having been what may have come off as “brusque” and rephrase so as to be in the fuzzy category. “What do you want, sweetheart?”
Nothing? “Where are you? Sounds like you’re in a tin can. Are you in a tin can?”
There is laughter. “I just thought I’d call, see what’s up.”
Still with the same echo-y sound. I shut my eyes. I find this helps me think.
“You called me at work, wondering what I was doing?”
I frown, then self-consciously try to rub said frown out of my forehead with my free hand. “Well,” I say, “Once again, my genius has been recognized. They’ve given me a summer house in Tuscany in lieu of a raise this year and two coupons for a free bagel with purchase of a coffee. Oh, and that statue I posed for last quarter will be unveiled after the dinner –“
And that’s when it hits me, as clear as the good ice cubes.
“Hey!” I shout.
“What?” There is laughter, then poorly muffled laughter, on the other end.
“Are you in the bathroom?! Seriously! Are you in the bathroom right now?!”
Attempts to muffle the laughter are abandoned. “What’s wrong with that? Your voice relaxes me.”
“Aeeeeggghhhh!” I am smiling. “OK. I’m hanging up now.”
Chuckles from the other end. “Nice talking to you!”
“Yeah,” I say. “Don’t forget to wash your hands.”
My jobs are many, my rewards few.
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