August 3, 2005

Tag, I'm It.

I am currently engaged in what is on its way to becoming the world’s longest-running game of phone tag. As a matter of fact, if I hadn’t actually seen him with my own eyes a couple of months ago, I would have to assume that my friend Magic Chef existed only as a digital voice recording.

(Yes, everyone mentioned in these entries gets assigned an alias, unless they already come with a handy one like “Mom” or “Dad”. Only people I loathe go unshielded. And the cats. But since I’m sure the cats’ real names are not what we named them, it still works.)

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t even wish for his voice mail to pick up when I call him. Yes, granted, I really hate talking to people on the phone. Really, really, really hate it. The kind of hate that my father always warned me not to speak lightly of when I was a child.

Me: “I hate tomatoes!”
Dad: “No you don’t. Hate is too powerful an emotion to waste on a tomato.”
Me: “Yes I do!”
Dad: “Kid, you’re bustin’ my chops.”

(I did eventually get the message Dad, but I still tend to use “hate” as a casual verbal shortcut.)

Anyway, back to Chef. We’ve been friends (over varying geographical distances) since high school. He’s been unofficially adopted into my family. He’s got a nice voice and a good sense of humor and is always either up for a bitch session or able to make me laugh. And I don’t feel like there’s a lot of catching up ground that has to be covered first every time we’re in touch. There’s a certain essential Chef-ness that he will carry with him no matter where he is in his life, and I find that easy to tap in to.

I could just send him an e-mail. As a matter of fact, I think in a recent voice mail I told him that’s what I would do. But, I’ve now developed a perverse desire to see just how long this phone tag lasts. It doesn’t help that’s he’s holding down at least three jobs. I don’t see how he does it. Usually, just one job is enough to make me want to gouge my eyes out, but he’s added two extra ones into the mix. Of course, when you’re over 30, on your own and trying to be a full-time student, holding down three jobs is just par for the course. It also doesn’t help that he’s a night owl and I’m a morning person. By the time he’s got some free time in the evening to talk, the time difference between us means that I’m already in bed. And somehow, I don’t think he’d appreciate me phoning him up at 5:00 a.m. his time to chat.

So, the phone tag continues. He’s actually two voice mails up on me at the moment, so I’ve got to get my phone charged and try him again. Things are showing signs of evolving some odd sort of one-sided conversation via voice mail. Our messages are starting to get longer and more detailed, in lieu of us actually being able to talk in real time.