-- become incrementally more concerned --
-- and finally descend into all-out mayhem.
For obvious reasons, I try very hard not to deviate from the schedule. And needless to say, my parents have come to expect my calls – I usually catch them either preparing dinner (Wednesdays) or doing the post-breakfast crossword puzzle (Sundays) – and they generally answer the phone with the cheerful tone of people who are expecting to hear from their child.
So I was surprised, on Sunday, when I called the house and was met on the first ring with a wary, uncomfortable, “Hello?”
“Uh… hello?” I said, feeling suddenly nervous. “Mom?”
“Ah!” my mother’s voice came back, exponentially sunnier and totally free of dread. “Hi, honey!”
“Hi mom,” I said. “So, uh… what’s going on?”
“Oh, you mean, why did I answer the phone like that? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s nothing! I just thought it might be your father.” She paused. “He’s in the bathroom.”
“Oh,” I said.
“We were working on the crossword puzzle,” she explained, “but then he had to go to the bathroom, and right before he went in he suggested that he could call me from the toilet so that we could keep working on it. You know, by phone. So I thought maybe this would be him, asking for the next clue.” Another pause. “God, that’s gross, isn’t it? I’m so glad it was you instead!”
Well. After twenty-four hours, I’m certainly willing to agree that yes, that might be a little bit gross.
However, after revisiting this conversation, I’m less focused on the potential grossness… and more focused on what it says about me and my upbringing that, after hearing that my father might be telephoning from the bathroom, it did not actually occur to me to ask why.