54. Simple Things

The boyfriend used to live in the States, so whenever I phoned him, I would get that familiar American single long ringtone, not the quicker double ringtone we have in the UK. He’s long since moved back to Blighty, but every time I hear that tone, in a tv show, I get the same apprehensive, heart-thudding feeling all over again. Evoking the anticipation of joy. I’m pensive. The next ten minutes has to last me all week.

Like an old dial-up tone. Have I got an email? Are they in the chatroom?

I cannot wait to hear his voice. 11am there, 4 pm here. I’ve busied myself all day to pass the time until I can ring him. If he’s not expecting my call, what if he’s out, hung over or just woken up?

This was in the embryonic Internet days, not the immediate, free luxury of communication we have now. It was still more than my parents had. Whenever Dad was working abroad, he would arrange to ring Mum at a local phone box or friend’s house on a certain day and time. Kids looked after by a friend, she would wait. If he didn’t call, the next letter would have the revised time and date of when they could possibly next speak.

36. Speaking my Language

Sometimes, there isn’t a quiet carriage on the train, so I have the pleasure and privilege of listening in on various one-sided phone conversations, whether I want to or not. There is the added joy of the tinny ch ch ch of crappy headphones. They never seem to be listeing to music I like either. Its always that urban stuff with the weird effect on the vocals.

These are a few of the delightful moments I have enjoyed over the last few months.

“No I wasn’t sacked. My contact wasn’t renewed. It’s very common in this industry. No, not all of them were. Just me”

“I’m well jel hun. No holibobs this year. Staycation. Netflix and chillaxing at home. Juice fast.”

“Ping me bro. Yeah, innit. Well, what it is, I was just arks-king, man. Yeah, well fit, innit. Cheeky Nandos.”

“My son, Jack’s off to the women’s snowboarding.” I had to think about that one for a bit, because it could mean something very different to what I think she meant.

“No, I don’t want him doing PE in his pants and vest.”

“You are so lucky if you can pee standing up. I had to do the ‘nightclub loo’ hover, and I’d had a mini bottle of Shiraz. I was freaking out cos it was one of those Virgin trains with the push button lock, and I kept thinking that the door would suddenly open and the entire queue for the buffet carriage would see me squatting.”

“She will tell someone within the first five minutes of meeting them that she’s a vegan, went to Oxford and got a first. She can’t help it. That’s just what she’s like.”

“To be honest, babe, we were just doing it for the lols. We weren’t any good. We looked like hot milfs though so should get on telly. My hair and nails cost me seventy quid. Yeah, I saw Simon Cowell. Ant and Dec weren’t there.”

“So I’m letting you know that I’m doing a phone detox. I’m going to listen to that audiobook and it’s 27 hours long and I’m not using my phone until I’ve listened to it all. Unless its an emergency, like I need picking up or something. Just in case you wondered where I was. Yes, I’ve put it on Facebook and Shapchat and on my Insta account. I’ve got some new beats headphones as well.”

“He was really good. I was internally grateful, if you know what I mean!”

“So you know I had that spot/boil/lump thing down there that wouldn’t go away? Well, I caught an ear infection from one of those dirty kids and so the doctor gave me some amoxicillin, and it cleared my nob right up.”