Monday, September 26, 2005

Late night phone call

I was raised under the edict that there were to be no telephone calls after 10 p.m. Thinking that possibly everyone was raised under that strict rule, I have come to believe that any time the phone rings after 10 p.m. that there is not anything good that could be on the other end -- someone has died, is in the hospital or in jail.

Last night it was 10:45 and I was exhausted. Doug was out playing poker and would be home around 11, but I just couldn't stay up any longer and I was getting ready for bed. Just as I was getting ready to crawl under the covers, the phone rang.

"What the...?" was my first thought, and then panic overtook me. Maybe something was wrong with Doug. I didn't even bother to put my glasses back on and I ran for the phone. I picked up the receiver and realized it wasn't Doug, the area code was 816. As I pressed the button, the call went into voicemail.

"816, 816..." I knew that area code was familiar, but I couldn't place it. No, it wasn't my folks, Doug's folks, or my sisters, so that was okay. "816, 816..." Is it Los Angeles, could there be something wrong with Doug's Auntie M? Is it Idaho and my Aunt G? Is something wrong with her cancer treatment or is she calling me about Aunt M?" All these possibilities ran through my mind in a matter of nanoseconds. My laptop was on the table so I looked up the area code. Since I didn't have my glasses, my nose was pressed against the screen so I could see. 816 -- Kansas City. At that point I was frantic. Something had happened to Doug's dad and they had him in the hospital in Kansas City. There would be no way Doug's mom would wait until the morning to call.

It had only been 30 seconds since I missed the call but there was already a message. I called the voicemail box. Thinking it was going to be Doug's mom, it took me a minute to register it was a man and it wasn't Doug's dad. I finally realized what the guy was saying, "I'm calling to see if you are any relation to James Q____; I think we might have some relatives in common..."

"What the F*%$!?! Who the hell does a genealogy call at 11 p.m. on a Sunday night?!?" At this point I slam the phone. Having an unusual last name I am used to occasionally receiving a random call and generally I don't mind it, but not late at night. When the phone rings late at night you get that sinking feeling in your stomach, you know there is nothing good at the other end. You expect something to be wrong with one of your loved ones; you don't expect it to be someone looking for a long lost relative who you've never heard of.

As I headed back to bed, I thought at least this late night call found all my loved ones safe.

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