Hanging on the Telephone
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When I was an undergraduate, my room was next to a landing at the head of a staircase. On the landing was a rare public payphone.
The first two times it rang, I answered it and dutifully toddled off to find the person for whom the bell tolled. The first time, I wasn’t sure who the student in question was and had to make enquiries; the second time, I knew exactly who they were but they seemed to have given their mother the number of the phone furthest from their room, perhaps in the hope that she would give up ringing them. I walked miles and then they were out.
The third time, and every time thereafter, I ignored the phone as I judged time-consuming phone-answering duties to be incompatible with the serious business of studying for a degree. Who knows what love affairs ended, what mothers wiped away a lonely tear, as a result of my phone-refusal.
And how glad I am that my own communication with my offspring is not dependent on some hard-hearted undergraduate who is able callously to filter out telephone bells.
The twins may have Skype switched off and their mobiles set to silent, but sooner or later, a text from me will get through. And the two keystrokes that it takes for them to draw a smiley will reassure me that all is wellJ
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