I hardly ever just tell a story for the story’s sake, but this one was so hilarious I can’t help recounting it here. Indeed, my daughter still tells random strangers this story when we’re in line at the grocery store and there’s more than one person in line ahead of us. I’ve told her before to leave it alone, but try debating with a seven-year old when she’s got her mind set on something. Anyway, here’s the story of the infamous booty call.
This was back when I was teaching regularly, and back when I had one of those regular phones, no touchscreen, just buttons, and no safety function or screen saver. In fact, the screen was so small and the phone so large that I had to squint to see the display (and there were no texting features). Okay, so this was in the stone age. I know you were thinking it. But you know you had one of those phones too, back when they were “state of the art.” So, I often had several items in my pockets in those days: my wallet, my car keys, a small notebook (for scribbling ideas that came to me during the day), and my phone. I would alternate which items would go in which of my pants pockets. On the day in question, I decided to slip my phone into my back pocket.
Then I started hearing this weird sound, like someone had a radio on mute, so I tried to figure out where it was coming from.
Well, I taught all morning, and didn’t get a break until around 10:30. By then I had sat down at my desk, gotten up to teach, sat down again for “office hours,” and finally got to the staff breakroom to decompress on my off period. Then I started hearing this weird sound, like someone had a radio on mute, so I tried to figure out where it was coming from. It sounded oddly familiar but I couldn’t place it, and the more I walked around looking for it, it seemed to sound like it was the same distance away from me. I was just flummoxed, and my break was quickly coming to an end. Strange, indeed. So I went back to class, and the muted music followed me as well. I was starting to think I was dealing with ghosts or something.
I got back to class, the music didn’t stop, and so I just started teaching over the sound, thinking I could drown it out. No such luck, as a student had her hand up almost right away. I called on her, and she said, “Your phone’s ringing.” I felt so incredibly dumb right then as it dawned on me. I mean, I hardly ever put my phone in my back pocket, and no one ever really called me on it, so I didn’t even guess it was my phone. Not for one second. I was so embarrassed that I walked directly out of the room while the students snickered after me. If I could have gotten red, I would have right then. Thank god for my skin tone. Once I got out into the hallway, I accosted another teacher, and had her watch my class for a minute while I went to figure out why someone was calling my phone.
Turns out it was my wife, and it also turns out that I had 10 messages from her in my voice mailbox as well.
Turns out it was my wife, and it also turns out that I had 10 messages from her in my voice mailbox as well. Expecting some huge emergency, my hands were shaking as I stood in the breakroom and I called her back at the house. I needn’t have worried, though, because as soon as she picked up, she said, “It’s about time!” in that exasperated voice she gets. But I know if she’s exasperated it must not be too serious. It’s when she gets that high-pitched voice that I know I should be worried. I audibly exhaled. Then she said, “you had our phone tied up for about an hour, so I got worried,” and it was my turn to be confused. She continued. “You called us, but we couldn’t make out what you were saying. It was all garbled up, so I clicked off. When I went to pick up the phone to make another call, you were still there, and it was still garbled. For about an hour the phone was tied up. Finally it clicked off, and I tried calling you back.” By then I could see where she was going with the story.
My butt had dialed them. It must have been when I sat down one of those time, the speed dial called them. So she had been listening to me teaching, heading to the breakroom, and going back to class. Who knows what all I had said to associates, colleagues, and students along the way. I even stopped by the bathroom. Oops. So, to this day, my daughter tells people in line at the grocery stores how, “Daddy’s butt called us. It was so funny, because your butt’s not supposed to use the phone.” And I will always discreetly turn away, so as to hide the offending part of me that called when it shouldn’t have. My own personal booty call.