Zen: (noun) A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Late Night Phone Calls

I hate late night phone calls.  If you grew up with drama and alcoholics, I know you understand what I'm talking about here.  If the phone rings after 11:00 pm, it is usually not good.  In fact, it's usually really, really bad.

I remember being a little girl and my parents getting late night phone calls.  It was rarely a good thing.  I was 15 when my dad's dad passed away.  To say that there was unfinished business between them is an understatement.  The phone rang, he answered, he hung up and said, "He's dead."  That was it.  Then he started to cry.  What I remember most is that my mom didn't come out of the bedroom to comfort him.  It was really uncomfortable.  We were such a healthy family...

Once I moved out, my phone rang all the time.  Seems my parents couldn't survive without me.  Well, okay, my dad was blind and really did need my help but my mom just wanted to be sure that if she was up and troubled, everyone was up and troubled.  My dad called one night when my sister had freaked out on PCP and put her arm through seven windows of the house and then dumped a trash can full of water on him.  She probably would have gotten more violent with him but she saw the blood and that brought her back to reality.  He called 911 and then me.  I cleaned up the house for him.

Then she freaked out once and attacked my parents after the hubs and I had taken her out for dinner.  She drank too much (duh) and insisted we take her home (where my niece was with my parents - she was all of two).  Long after everyone should have been asleep the phone rang - this time they called me BEFORE 911.  Really?

Lots and lots of other calls like this.  A car accident.  Someone's sick and needs to go to the hospital NOW.  Your dad has had a stroke.  Your husband's sister has passed away.  Someone needs to be picked up because they can't drive or they are with someone who can't drive (YES I'll be there right away.)  Someone is drunk and just wants to talk (NO call me when you're sober).

For a long time I would unplug the phone at night because my sister got more "active" after the sun went down.  Then I had kids who were out and about in the evening and so the phone had to stay on...thank goodness for caller ID and voicemail.

But those times have passed.  I haven't had a late night phone call like that in over 10 years (since my nephew deleted my phone number from my sister's phone).  My mom lived with us until she died so I knew what was going on with her.  You'd think I'd be over it.

But I'm not.

Last night my nephew called.  He used his fiance's phone.  When I saw her name, my first thought was, "Oh my God, what has Michael done now."  My heart started beating in my ears and a pit the size of Chicago formed in my stomach.  I answered the phone and heard his voice.  It was only 10:00 my time but it still freaked me out.

He needed the email address and password to the Netflix account.

I spoke with him for awhile, laughed with him and gave him the info.  Then I hung up and thought, "When will this reaction ever end?"

Answer...probably never.  I'm a product of conditioning.

Just call me Pavlov's pooch.



  1. Oh god Sherry, the more I hear about where you have come from the more admiration I have for you. There must have been so much mixed up shit messing with your head.. it's no wonder that you drank to numb it all away. But holy hell my friend... holy fucking hell... you obviously have some gold tucked away in that heart & head of yours because you have beaten your own addiction and faced all that shitty shit head on. And you continue to be brave and strong and face all of it head on every day. You are such an inspiration, really I mean that.. it's not faux blogging love... you really are a huge inspiration to me xxx

    1. Right back atcha my friend...you have no idea how much you've helped me.

      Right back atcha...


  2. My reactions amaze me sometimes. So deeply rooted. I hear ya....so glad he just wanted the Netflix info!

  3. That made me think of all the late night calls I used to make in my 20's. Ugh. What do you mean you're asleep? Don't you want to talk to a slurring mess? Come ON! ;)

    How long did it take you to calm down? Lots of deep breaths! xoxoxo

  4. I'm with Mrs D on this one - you've had quite the life there, and I don't mean it all in a good way, or at least that's not the life one would imagine when they were a little child. But wow, you have gone through a lot there, Sherry...and you come through here with humour and love and just enough drama to show us where you came from. I can't imagine what it was like. sigh.

    and for the late night calls? Hell, I was guilty of that for oh so many years. Cringe.

    Love this post, Sherry. Love it.