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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Making the call

My work day doesn't offer much in the way of predictability, which is probably a good thing considering I'm an ADD boy who is easily bored with repetitive tasks.  But there are certain rituals I enjoy and look forward to... especially those associated with leaving to go home at the end of the day.

For instance, there's the call home.

Once I'm in the car and heading up the street away from my office, I will usually phone home to let whoever answers know that I am on my way. 

The reason I wait until I'm well away from the office instead of calling as I'm turning off my computer is that it is not at all unusual to be waylaid in the parking lot by someone trying to organize a pick-up meeting with anyone foolish enough to still be on the premises, and be dragged back into the office for an hour or two of mind-numbing, fruitless group discussion that could certainly have waited until morning. 

Soooo, instead I play it safe and wait until I am well clear of the employment zone before actually making the call home.

The call itself can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes or more... depending on who answers.

If Zahava answers, she is usually all business. She'll ask if I have any preference for dinner and then hurry off the phone to referee the kids before they destroy the house or kill one another.

However, if either Ariella or Gilad answer the phone there is an entirely different protocol. 

I get the sense that the big kids feel they aren't getting to spend enough time with me (a fair assessment)... so they use some extremely effective tactics to try to keep me on the phone as long as possible. 

Ariella is the extrovert and is always in transmit mode.  If I let her, she will accept the burden of the entire conversation upon herself and talk non-stop for the entire trip from Beer Sheva to Efrat:

Ariella: Hello?
Me: Hi sweetie pie, how are you?
A: HI ABBA!!!! (Abba is Hebrew for father)
M: How are you?
A: [ignoring my question] When are you going to be home?
M: Oh, I don't know... in about 45 minutes.
A: [giving no indication that she has even heard my response]  When you get home I want to show you a bracelet I made today and tell you about the pe'ula (activity) we are planning for Ezra (her youth group), oh, and I brushed Jordan a little while ago so now there is dog hair everywhere, and I... and then... and... and... and... and...
M: [trying to interrupt her monologue] Um, Ari, did you have a good day today?
A: ...and then I... and then... and... and... and.......
M: Ari, do you even have the phone near your ear or are you just talking into the handset like it's a microphone?
A: ... and... and... and... and........
M: [driving along and enjoying listening to her talk]

Gilad, on the other hand, requires a bit more feedback if he is the one who answers the phone.  He is somewhat more reserved than his sister, and he will usually allow me to get away with a lot of games and teasing just to keep the lines of communication open:

Gilad: Hello?
Me: Hi yummy boy! How are you?
G: OK.  How was your day?
M: Fine, I guess.
G: Where are you?
M: In the car.
G: Where in the car?
M: In the diver's seat.
G: No, I mean where are you right now?
M: I just told you.
G: Abba... I mean where are you on the road right now?
M: Oh, sorry... I'm on the right side... that's OK, isn't it?
G: [feigning exasperation] ABBAH!!!  How soon will you be home?
M: Oh, OK! Is that what you meant?  I'll be home pretty soon.
G: How soon?
M: Oh, I dunno... maybe 45 minutes.
G:  OK............... So where are you right now?
M: I'm in the driver's seat! 
[repeat as necessary]

Occasionally if I'm feeling a bit evil I will try to subject Zahava to the Gilad treatment ("Where am I?"...  "I'm in the car"...), but she usually puts a quick end to that with a ladylike "Bite me!" (to the endless amusement of any hitchhikers that happen to be in the car).

But whether she realizes it or not, if she isn't falling into my Gilad script/trap, Zahava often unwittingly turns the tables on me and gives me the Ariella treatment ("So then I... and then... and then... and... and..."). 

Genetics is a funny thing that way.

Anyhow... regardless of who answers the phone when I make the call to tell them I'm on my way home, I know I can sit back and enjoy as the voices of the people I love wash over me.

I'll be home soon.


Posted by David Bogner on July 4, 2006 | Permalink


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made me chuckle..realizing how everyone all over is really the same...

baruch hashem you have a home and children (and a car!)

Posted by: the sabra | Jul 4, 2006 11:46:36 AM

Ah yes. The flip side of having a cellphone (and thus dragging work into your life outside of the office) is having a cellphone (and thus dragging your home to wherever you may be).


Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Jul 4, 2006 1:26:02 PM

Erhmmmm....ah, yes! I remember what I was going to say.... BITE ME! :-)

Posted by: zahava | Jul 4, 2006 2:35:28 PM

Very smart move to call after actually leaving the office. Westbankpappa sometimes calls from the office, and when he doesn't get home when I think he should I start to worry. It usually means that someone grabbed him to do something "urgent" (NOT)and he is there for at least another hour...

Posted by: westbankmama | Jul 4, 2006 2:49:38 PM

That was funny and touching. I also play the same game with my son. Now that he's 19, he turns the tables on me.

Posted by: seawitch | Jul 4, 2006 3:22:10 PM

Having witnessed "the call", I can honestly say that all accounts are correct! (Thought the voices were much more excited and more interested in the family driving in the car with Abba, than wondering where HE was, at the time!!!)

Posted by: val | Jul 4, 2006 4:11:18 PM

Now that I'm working an hour+ from home I have the same thing.

The dynamic with my older and younger daughter is EXACTLY as you described.

Zahava you rock, it's nice to know I'm not the only loving wife who says those two special words to her husband when warranted. It actually cracks him up everytime and I've been saying it for years!

Posted by: shifra | Jul 4, 2006 5:15:38 PM

That's pretty funny! : )

With us, it's completely the opposite. It's my mother who asks a million questions about where I am... and I , *sigh*, usually try to get away as quickly as possible... which is not very fast.

Posted by: Irina | Jul 4, 2006 5:53:46 PM

Sounds like fun! "I'm in the car" would definitely drive me crazy.

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Jul 4, 2006 7:13:21 PM

Cute. I hate talking on the phone and my wife knows it. A Couple years ago I lost the hearing in my right ear (in Israel by the way) and now I have to hold the cell phone with my left hand only. More often than not IF I call in saying I'm on my way (I only do this if I'm really late and it's getting dark) I get a loooooong report on the days activities from the wife. When my left elbow cramps up I have to cut her off and ask that we continue this discussion in ten minutes or so when I drive up as I'm coming down our road right now. It is ever the same.

Posted by: Scott | Jul 4, 2006 9:28:54 PM

the conversation with arielle sounds just like a cell phone commercial. I don't remmeber which one, but basically the 12 or 13 yr old girl in the commercial is talking on and on and on and on about absolutely nothing.

I think it's great that you have this little routine with your family. It's probably one of those moments, though it may not seem like much now, will stick in their memories when they grow up.

Posted by: jaime | Jul 4, 2006 10:00:24 PM

Sounds like too much fun. I call my wife while she is still working, but too often get an interrupting call from work.

I like your calls better. :o)

Posted by: Tim | Jul 5, 2006 12:21:48 AM

Ok this post was GREAT!!!
David, I have had the same coversation that you had with Gilad, with my Abba many times. me: Hey Abba, whatchya watching? Abba: we call it television Faye. I know how Gilad feels. I am pretty sure that I have subjected my father to the Ariella treatment as well.
Hope all is well in the Holy Land!

Posted by: Faye | Jul 5, 2006 1:52:02 AM

How I came to have this recurring conversation with my middle son has been long lost to remembrance.

Like you, each evening I call to report that I'm headed home. If #2 son answers, I intone in my most "vaderesque" voice, "I am you father!" and he skywalkers back, "Nooooooo!" Then we both laugh and I instruct him to tell mom I'm on the way. We've been performing this little play this for the better part of a decade, and the joke never grows old.

Posted by: Bob | Jul 5, 2006 2:05:45 AM


Posted by: Lioness | Jul 5, 2006 6:47:27 AM

Sabra... Yes, Baruch Hashem (thank G-d), indeed.

Yehudah... You've just hit on the reason I don't ever turn off my cell phone... even when I desperately need the solitude. Sure my office could call... but then so could my family.

Zahava... My own little Eliza Doolittle, I'm so proud.

Westbankmama... Yeah, I've gotten the whole 'I pictured you laying in a ditch' lecture from Zahava a few times. Now I wait to be sure I'm really on my way home before calling.

Seawitch... My kids better not EVER toy with me the way I do with them. That wouldn't be fair! :-)

Val... Thanks for providing corroborating evidence. :-)

Shifra... Please don't encourage her. :-)

Irina... Yes, parents worry. Be a good girl and call your mother.

Steg... We can try it the next time you call, ok?

Scott... They have these new inventions called 'hands-free kits'. You should look into that. If you don't use a hands free kit while talking on the phone in the car here in Israel you get a BIG ticket from the police.

Jaime... Oh, you mean all the stuff she'll be telling her shrink I did to screw her up so badly? :-)

Tim... You have call coverage out there on the prairie? :-)

Faye... Thanks, I'm glad it resonated with you.

Bob... You didn't cut his hand off or anything did you? Just checking. :-)

Lioness... That's me. Just a mushy, over-ripe honeydew melon. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 5, 2006 1:05:53 PM

Awww...so sweet!

Posted by: Essie | Jul 5, 2006 5:08:48 PM

Yeah yeah yeah. When I get a new truck. Been sayin this for three years now.

Posted by: Scott | Jul 5, 2006 7:06:53 PM

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