The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were relaxing in the living room after our Saturday evening repast. She was reading some woman's novel while I was following the exploits of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's gentleman, Jeeves. Oh, that Bertie, what?
It had been one of those tiring weeks of much work and much ado about nothing. And after such a week we were in our winding down mode. Nothing is like a Saturday evening at home after the week's work is all done. Even when the work is not done, it is wonderful to sit back, elevate your feet and just relax even if not all’s right with the world.
I had just morphed into my Saturday evening relaxation mode when the other resident of the parsonage said, "Listen, do you hear that?"
I came to my senses enough to say, "uh."
"Quiet and just listen. Do you hear it?"
Right here I need to confess that my hearing is not quite as acute as my wife's. If I were a swearing man, I would swear that she hears things that do not actually exist. But, you did not hear it from me. In order to keep peace and harmony in the house I usually go along with her. But this time I was lost.
Looking at her in one of my strange looks I said, "I don't hear a thing."
"You mean to tell me you don't hear that?"
There are times when making up a story is expedient but I had a feeling this was not one of those times.
"Okay, I give up. What do you hear?"
"Nothing. I hear nothing."
Now I was beginning to think that the old girl had fallen off her broom. You can never tell when these things will happen.
"I don't hear anything either," I replied.
Then I saw her staring at and nodding toward the phone. Finally, she pointed to the phone and said, "The phone isn't ringing."
Then I got it. I finally heard that too. It was the wonderful sound of the phone not ringing. We had a good chuckle together and she went back to her novel but I could not get back into my book. I kept thinking of how noisy that telephone of ours had been the last few weeks.
I think when Graham Bell invented the telephone he did society a marvelous good. However, I'm sure he never intended it to be used the way it has been used recently.
Now that the election is all over, our telephone has been strangely and wondrously quiet. For weeks, leading up to the election our phone had been ringing overtime. One politician after another somehow got our telephone number and upon obtaining it, felt at full liberty in giving us a call.
I do not mind people calling me and chatting for a moment. I enjoyed a good chat as well as anybody else. But these politicians are another breed of something or other. For some reason they have never mastered the etiquette of making a telephone call.
Why, just last week Sarah Palin called me on the phone. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I heard her voice. I chatted with her for a full three minutes before I realized she was not listening to me. It was a pre-recorded message. That is the way with politicians. They yak, yak, yak and never listen to the person they are yakking to.
Then, in the midst of all these political calls, I had a call from some telemarketer. The only thing I understood was the first few words when he said, "Hello, my name is…" after that he talked as though he had his mouth full of marbles. By the time he was finished all I could say was, “huh.”
With all of this telephone nonsense, I have come up with my own rules of telephone etiquette. These are rules I wish everyone would use when calling me.
For starters, if you do call me, please do not have a mouth full of marbles. I know how tempting it is to put marbles in your mouth and then talk on the telephone. But when you called me, in particular, please resist this temptation and lose your marbles.
Then, speaking of marbles and those who have lost a few, let me address the politicians who insist on calling me. Do not call me with a pre-recorded message. If you want to call me, and I welcome your call, please have the courtesy of chatting with me. If you do not want to listen to what I have to say, I certainly do not want to listen to what you have to say.
Nothing is more frustrating than picking up the telephone and having someone talk to you without giving you an opportunity to talk back. I grant you, every politician that called my phone got talked back to, unfortunately, they never heard it.
Musing on this further, I thought of my relationship with God. He has this calling business down to perfection. I picked up my Bible and turned to a favorite passage. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3 KJV).