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Five Routine Minutes: A Long Distance Call

A little background on this one. While I was in college, my family moved away. I wrote about the sordid details here. You should go look, I’ll wait.
 
Welcome back. My mother and I had a conversation last week about my life in Maryland after the family had moved on to North Carolina. This was one of the stories I told her.
 

During the last year and a half of my time in college, I lived with a family who had a home a few miles from campus. They had a spare bedroom for rent. The university matched us up and it worked for both sides. Steve, Claire and their kids were very good to me.

They were really nice people.

This was in the early eighties, so there are a couple of things that are important to know. I shared the house phone, which was in the kitchen. This was in the pre-cell phone era, so I’d talk to my parents once a week or so. Long distance calls were expensive. I couldn’t afford many of them if I wanted to pay for things like school, rent, food and dates.

Also, I had a mustache. My mustache has nothing to do with the story. But, as a visual artist, I know that you’ll see the difference in how I portray myself in this post.

During this time, my grandfather was very ill. His time was short. I’d been to visit him and was back in school for about two weeks. My routine was back to normal, but grandpa and my mom were on my mind.

One morning, I slept in later than usual. There were no classes on my schedule until close to lunch time and I’d worked late the night before. The phone rang in the kitchen.

Claire answered it. I could hear her talking as I dozed. Then she called up the stairs – “Oma, your mom’s on the phone. Are you up?” My mind started racing as soon as she said it was my mom.

There was no doubt what this call was. I jumped out of bed, put on my glasses and zipped down stairs.

Claire knew about my grandfather’s condition. She handed me the phone, touched my arm and mouthed, “I’m sorry”. But when she did it, she had the oddest look on her face. It was almost like she was stifling a laugh.

I stood in the kitchen and consoled my mother over the phone. We discussed arrangements, then I went upstairs to take a shower. By the time I came back down, Claire had taken another call from my family and gotten my flight arrangements. She even offered to drop me off at the airport.

On the way to the airport, I had a disturbing realization. I was asleep when the phone rang. Claire called me and I jumped out of bed. There was something missing in that sequence. There was only one way to clear up my concern.

Was I wearing pants?

This horrified me. I offered to move out. Claire would have none of that. She told me she knew I would never have stood around in the kitchen in jockey shorts on purpose. When I came back home, she and Steve both went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

They also got in their share of jokes until the day I graduated.

 

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36 Comments on “Five Routine Minutes: A Long Distance Call”

  1. Wow. You went bald early. I’m sure if you had hair you would have been so much more handsome and less creepy. You really nailed tighty whiteys. Such an artist.

  2. benzeknees says:

    I used to walk in my sleep when I was young or when I was under a great deal of stress. I have woken up in my kitchen making toast in the middle of the night. So I know what can happen when you’re asleep or half asleep.

  3. Laura says:

    Wow, Oma — nice legs! *Swoon*

  4. k8edid says:

    You had me at underwear…You are a true visual artist, Oma.

  5. lbwoodgate says:

    Some people only have dreams of such embarrassing moments. How’s it feel to live the reality? 🙂

  6. Wendy says:

    With this post your artwork has entered a phase of realism that takes my breath away. The facial expressions depict true emotion, and that final sketch is practically 3-dimensional. I am still puzzling over the lack of hands, however. Doubtless, it has some deep meaning.

  7. Claire was likely focused on your mustache, not your jockeys

    • omawarisan says:

      It was a hell of a ‘stache. One of the things I’m not looking forward to at retirement is when they go back and dig out my recruit picture from my personnel file. That is one of the last places the mustache still lives.

  8. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    The reaction might not have been so extreme had she not noticed the Care Bears imprinted all over the shorts. You left out that detail in the story and in the drawing. And I discovered that if a man doesn’t have thighs, the package just descends there awkwardly.

  9. Lenore Diane says:

    I’m thinking the mustache was grounds enough to kick you to the curb. I’m surprised Claire didn’t suggest you keep the tightie whiteys and lose the ‘stache.

  10. Thank goodness you weren’t sleeping “comando”. Now that would have been truly embarrassing.
    You should grow the ‘stache again.

    • omawarisan says:

      The mustache will never come back on its own. I did grow a beard when I was out for surgery about a year ago. I liked that and also the goatee, but i can’t grow either until I retire in the fall.

  11. Debbie says:

    Well, at least you had on something besides your glasses, huh?! Your artistic ability amazes me. Were those bunny slippers without ears??

  12. robincoyle says:

    So my suspicions are confirmed. You were a bald porn star in the 80s.

  13. I love it when one finds out that someone who did an “uncool” thing actually is the coolest of all. Great post Oma!

  14. Today is “Awkward Day.” I think your story nailed it.

  15. The undies doesn’t concern me as much as the stache. Please tell me it was a pornstache.

  16. This makes me really happy. I probably wouldn’t have asked her and would have just lived in secret shame forever.

  17. The Bungalow Blog says:

    Boxer or briefs no longer a question. Thanks, Stache.


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