On To The Other Stuff

By: Ann Brown

I am wrestling with a problem.

You know how I hate talking on the phone, right? Well, a few weeks ago I sent a letter to a very nice person I met in Sag Harbor after he called and left a message saying how much he enjoyed meeting Robin and me when we were there this summer.  The letter came back today, with a stamp saying that there is no mail receptacle at the address to which I sent the letter.

And now it has been sitting on my desk for over a week, causing me grief and moral disquilbrium, worrying that this guy thinks I’m dissing him. Well, okay, most of the week I didn’t think about it due to, well, due to the fact that mostly I think about my hair, but every time I passed by my desk and saw the letter, it gave me a little stomach ache.

What am I supposed to do now?

If you are thinking, “what is the problem? Just call him, you big weenie”, then you probably do not suffer from Hate To Talk On The Phone disorder, and you won’t get this post at all. And I am sorry to say this and harsh your mellow, but you and I will never be friends unless you move next door to me or are willing to communicate with me solely via the dr. strangemom Facebook fan page.

It’s twisted, I know, but that’s how I roll.

Yeah, sure, I could call him, but it will bring nothing but disappointment to both of us. Phone calls are just plain difficult. This guy might be happy to hear from me at first, perhaps, since he’s probably been sitting around since he called over a month ago, feeling rejected, pissed off at himself that he ever made the effort to stay in touch, going over every bit of our time together – now, as evidence that I am a horrible person, and deeply unattractive, to boot. At least, that’s how I’d feel if I called someone and they never called me back. Yeah, so he’d be happy I called him back, but after a few minutes of awkard phone conversation, he’d be rethinking the whole “let’s stay in touch and be friends” thing we had going in August, wondering what it was about me that made him even want to be friends in the first place.

Oh, and I just want to mention this: I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Sag Harbor, but it’s one of those places that makes you feel ungainly, ill-dressed, and alarmingly fat;  you leave your hotel feeling pretty bitchin’ but after a few minutes on the street you feel as if your clothes are on inside out and full of boogers.  Oh, it’s not Sag Harbor’s fault – I actually loved the place. It’s the fault of the tanned, fit, perfectly casually dressed people there in August. They are all just the right, cute size for humans, made exactly according to the instruction manual. Which made me feel like fucking Gulliver – bloated Gulliver, after four beers and  some yeast bread –  as I lumbered down their narrow streets scaring little children and leaving shattered glass in my wake.

But about this guy…

I’ve made a few notes on index cards in case I call him –you know, interesting discussion topics, assorted bon mots, questions about his life, work, etc, but I just can’t bring myself to call. I really, really, really hate talking on the phone. I want an outgoing message on my voice mail that says, “I’m home now, so please hang up and email me.”

Ack. What a moral conundrum. And so soon after atoning. I was hoping to have a reprieve from this kind of shit for at least a few weeks following Yom Kippur. God, it is a burden to be popular and ethical. Why couldn’t I have been born with the depth of ethical thought of, say, Kate Gosselin or Adolph Hitler? I bet they never lost sleep, worrying that they’d hurt someone’s feelings, Hitler agonizing over just the right correspondences to send – Dear Poland, So sorry about about that Gleiwitz brouhaha. Looking forward to seeing you at the signing of the Molotov-Robbentrop Pact – if I can still fit into my pants after all those piroshkis I “liberated” from your bakeries, LOL.

I am staring at the envelope as I write this. Something doesn’t make sense. Since when do people NOT have a mail receptacle? The guy has a jewelry store on Main Street, for God’s sakes. Doesn’t he need to get mail? How does he get his coupons for Sweet Tomatoes Buffet?

Oh, shit. I just thought of something – what if he sent the letter back to me so he didn’t have to stay in touch? What if the stamp that says “no mail receptacle” is just a bogus one he had made for exactly these kinds of situations? What if HE is dissing ME?

I gotta mull this over.

If you need me, I’ll be at the refrigerator.

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