Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ah, Kids

Something kind of funny happened to me today.

At about 3 in the afternoon, the phone rang. I let it go but listened to see if anyone left a message. When the call went to the answering machine and the robot voice on the machine said, "Hello," a little voice said hello back. The robot voice went on with the rest of its message, as it does, and when the beep sounded, the caller, who I could tell now was a little boy, said, "Hello, is Timmy there?" A moment of silence, and then a hang up.

A little while later, the boy called back. I answered and he asked again if Timmy was there. In the patronizing grownup voice I affect when I talk to children, I said, "I'm sorry but I think you dialed the wrong number." A moment's reflection on the other end, and then, "Is this the base?" I said, "No. What number were you trying to call?" He said, "Bye," and hung up.

Some minutes later, the boy called back. I said hello and there was silence. I figured it was the kid and said into the silent telephone, "Are you looking for Timmy?"
"Is this the base?"

"No, it's just me again," I said. "Do you mean like a military base?"

"No," said the boy, endlessly frustrated with my obviously willful efforts to stymie his quest for what or whomever he was looking for. "THE BASE!" he said, and with volume. "The Doctor's base!"

I still didn't know what the hell this 4-year old kid was talking about. "No, this is just my private apartment," I said. (In retrospect, I don't know what a public apartment would be like, but this was just me talking.)

The kid huffed. "Is this..." and he read in a slow, authoritative voice all the digits of the number he'd just called. My home number.

"Yes, that's me." I said. There was silence and I filled it with, "Maybe if you told me the name of who you were looking for, I could look it up and give you the right number." Maybe this kid needed a doctor for his unconscious mom or something. I wondered if my asking for more info, offering to help, might be tweaking this kid's Stranger Danger instinct. No, I thought to myself. I'm only offering to do what a telephone operator would do.

The kid huffed again. "Bye," he said.

"Bye," I said.

"Hey," the kid said, barely letting me finish my 'bye'.

"What?" I said.

"Don't you call back here."

I laughed out loud, surprised, and said quickly in an incredulous laughing voice, "Me? You called here!"

Anyway, I thought that was a jolt of high comedy in the middle of an otherwise middling, do-nothing day.


Speck said...

I always had a hunch that deep you were a pedophile...

harwell said...

That made me laugh out loud, Crane. God help me, I'm not sure why, but it did. Sort of reminds me of the time you talked to a cat. I imagine you have similar conversations with children.

Peter said...

Crane your blog as of late is better than pork chops and apple sauce. Keep up the great writing.

blankfist said...

That was awesome! Haha!

Speck said...

I finally saw Miami Vice.


Nathan said...

Shawn...is that the story you told me where Brian actually pulled over on the side of the road, unrolled the window, stuck his head out so he could....talk to a cat? That time?

Crane, you should tell us that story.

Peter said...

i want the cat story too.