The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Checking In, Checking Up


Possibly more texts than phone calls. The world of short messages instead of long conversations.

I got phone calls everyday. At work. “What are you doing?” A little irritated by the obvious. “Working.”

“What time are you coming home?” “Don’t know.” “What are you planning for dinner?” “Haven’t thought about it. Will figure something out when I get there.” Always hoping that something might be sitting on the table when I got home. The usual, sometimes unspoken, complaint of couples when one is at work and the other at home.

The call in the check-out line. Ignored. It’s rude to be talking on your phone when having that relationship with the clerk. Demeaning somehow—as if that person didn’t earn the respect of your attention. Call-back when I finished. “On my way.”

A call every night when I was away. At my daughter’s. At my son’s. Babysitting. Waking me from sleep sometimes. Nothing to talk about. Just a call to check in, check up. “I tried to call you earlier.” I was out walking in the city. I did that a lot.

I didn’t call a lot. Not disinterested. Trusting. A hunting trip with another man. His wife calling me to check. No call from them. “Out of service,” I assured her. I wasn’t worried or suspicious.

Occasionally WTF when I didn’t answer. Ringer off. “What good is a phone if you don’t answer?” It was an accident. I still do it. Missed calls. Then the call-back. Sorry. Pocket calls. A text and then an accidental call too. “You’re calling me,” my son or daughter says as we’re sitting together. “Just last week as I sat with my brother, “You’re texting me.” I meant to text myself.

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