When I was a child we lived in, what was then, a pretty rural area. I grew up next door to my Grandparents and my Great Grandparents. I come from one of those good ole southern families that everyone you’re related to lived or still lives within a 20 mile radius. Our Palm Sunday family reunions (which is a family from 3 generations back) still has almost 100 people a year. Mainly cuz it’s always easy to drive about 1/2 mile down the road.
Now because we lived in a rural area growing up my Grandma had a party line. For those of you youngin’s who have never heard of a party line- let me explain. A party line was a phone line that was shared by many houses. Everybody had a phone, but not only did you have to wait for people to get off the phone in your own house, but also about 5 of your neighbors. Every home had the “phone table” in a public place, because every phone had to have a jack (and those babies were expensive). If you picked up the line in your house and your neighbor was on the phone you could hear their conversations. Needless to say this was a point of many a nights of endless gossip for southern women drinking sweet tea and snapping beans. It is also the origin of “I’m on the phone” This statement started off innocently enough to let you people know you were using the device at that particular moment.
The next generation of the phone was much easier device with push buttons and long cords and were actually private to each house. My house actually had two lines so we were living in high cotton. The jacks became less expensive so we put these wonder devices in every room. I even knew people that placed them in the bathroom right next to the throne. Nothing like bullshit coming out of both ends! 🙂 We thought these long cords were the best invention ever as a teenager. They allowed for much more privacy. I could take the phone into my room or a closet and talk (or whisper) for hours and hours. Our parents would stick their head in and we would say in a very annoyed tone- “I’m on the phone” Teenagers and phones were inseparable and parents all over the land hung their head in despair and thought they had lost their children forever.
The phone transformed again in my 20’s. We now had cordless phones. These developed before my parasites came along.. These phones were AMAZING. I could take them in to any room with or without a phone jack. I could even take them outside. These were essential to my survival with three young children. When I had two children in my lap crying at 2 am, my husband was snoring, and I really needed my mom- I could call her for help or at least see if she knew the number for a wandering band of gypsies to come buy them. I think I called her for that number several times, but she always convinced me that I would have to give a refund so what was the point.
As they grew we got this new and amazing invention. They were originally called a cellular phone or cell phone. It could be used anywhere. In the car or in the woods you were always accessible. The best part was I could now hide from the parasites on occasion and actually finish a conversation with a friend I hadn’t been able to complete for at least 3 years. My conversations for years had gone something like this:
Me: Hey -How are you?
Friend:- Fine- How are you?
Me: Bobby get your sisters diaper off your head and back on her!! Oh I’m fine
Friend: Good – How are the kids?
Me: No- I said now- get her diaper off your head!! Oh they’re great! How was your vacation?
Friend: Vacation was great- We spent two weeks on a yacht in the Caribbean. It was beautiful and the snorkeling was fantastic
Me: Oh that sounds wonderful! Crap- I’ve got to go Sally just stuck her finger up her brothers nose and now it looks like WWF in my living room.
After the invention of cell phones I could, just like in my teens, find nifty hiding places in my home to talk on the phone and have an actual adult conversation. I have hidden in closets under cloths, my car in the driveway, the bathroom, and outside in the woods. The woods seemed to be the best because the little detectives found me every where else. I think children can actually smell mother alone time like a hunter tracking prey. They can’t find their shoe’s laying in their bedroom floor, but they can find me hiding in the bottom of my closet under 3 layers of clothing to come find their shoe’s.
The one thing I am convinced of though is that once a mother picks up a phone it immediately becomes invisible to anyone else that lives in their home. It’s like a super power. They seem to be able to see it when it is laying on the counter, but put that baby up to a mothers ear and poof it’s gone! They suddenly come in and immediately start a conversation like there is nothing next to your face or your mouth isn’t moving at all.
Some days it seems like the only thing that hasn’t changed in my entire life is one phrase and it just gets more annoyed and louder. “I AM ON THE PHONE”