Ask Not For Whom the Phone Rings…

9 Feb

I needed two quiet hours, that’s all.

An hour’s worth of un-transcribed audio notes from a recent phone interview sat on the table, screaming for my attention, but a litany of interruptions had been pulling me away all morning. So, when my awesome husband announced he’d be taking our teenager out for some father-son time, I was thrilled.

Even before they were out the door I started racing around to get settled. (That may sound oxymoronic, but ask any parent on the cusp of some quiet time—it’s a bona fide activity.)

Let’s see…Coffee? Check. Laptop plugged in? Check. Notebook? Check. Cell phone near so I don’t have to get up? Check. Cozy workin’ blanket? Check. Snack? Check.

Good to go.

I hit the button on the audio player and started typing. The sound quality was fantastic, for a change; our voices came through crystal clear (I could write a whole other blog on whisperers, bad connections, accents, and static-riddled conversations). I started typing like a madwoman.

I might just be able to pull this off before the boys get back.

Then the phone rang.

Not the cell phone, which, although annoying, I could have easily picked up. No, it was the house phone, ten whole feet away.

…Click off the tape, transfer the laptop onto the table, kick the cat off the blanket, pull off the blanket, race to the kitchen, and grab the phone.

Dial tone.

I can’t believe they hung up.

I brought the house phone over to the computer and settled back down. At least I’d be ready if it happened again.

I hit the audio button and resumed typing.


Hah! I hit “pause” and grabbed the phone.


This happened about four more times, always one ring. I sent a text to the boys to see if they were trying to reach me. Perhaps they had a poor signal?

“Nope. Wasn’t us.”

I sent the same text to my best friend. Not her either.

Again it happened. And again.

Cat by broken phone

Careful everyone…she’s in a mood…

Yes, I considered the potential for a hidden camera, and even looked around with not a little paranoia before shaking my head. Hard.

Twice more I resumed my typing. Twice more the phone rang. The little girl in me was seriously ready to start crying.

Okay, I’m going to try to ignore it.

I started transcribing again, focusing on the voice on the tape with all I had. The phone rang once—you should know I have ADD and cannot ignore a ringing phone—twice—focus, focus, focus!—three times. If you can make it to four the machine will kick on.

Then I heard my voice on the tape saying, “Just ignore that, Sir; it will go to voicemail at four rings.”

I’d spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to answer a phone that wasn’t ringing.

Crystal clear audio. It’s not always your friend.

It made me wonder though…

How often, in my stubbornness, do I run on autopilot and not even notice that the one true voice has stopped talking? There are a lot of imitations out there…stay alert!

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24


Christmas Year-Round assignment for February

Okay, you’ve had your baking break. It’s time to get the pans out again. This month, bake a batch of cookies for a neighbor…and not one you know well, either. No, you don’t have to decorate them, and yes, deliver them in person. Write to me about your new friend!

7 Responses to “Ask Not For Whom the Phone Rings…”

  1. Heidi February 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    OH my goodness! That is hysterical! I was not expecting that ending at all!!! FANTASTIC, though I’m sad you lost those precious 30 minutes. Thanks for bringing us joy from it!!!

  2. Erin Unger February 20, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Reblogged this on Erin Unger, Author and commented:
    The Portrait Writer is such fun to read. Check out this post.

  3. amethyst212 February 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    ouch. just ouch. I can absolutely see myself doing this!!! thanks for sharing!!!

    • pjoy93 February 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks everyone. Been off line a while, (for a whole blog’s worth of reasons) but I’ve enjoyed your comments. Thanks, Erin, for the reblog! Hoping to get into a better writing rhythm soon. 🙂

  4. Mary S. February 25, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    This is hilarious – in hindsight, of course. i can so picture the whole scene. Thanks for sharing!

    • pjoy93 February 25, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

      Thank you Mary. 🙂


  1. State of the Portrait Writer Report | The Portrait Writer - December 31, 2015

    […] to. I was fooled by imitation voices in I Got Screwed!, and later fooled by lovely noises, in Ask Not for Whom the Phone Rings, both of which brought much frustration, until I wizened up. I sure hope I’m smarter now, but […]

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