Cell phones create communications divide for Millers

Sunday, May 28, 2006

SHE SAID: BBHHRREEEEEEP.

BBHHRREEEEEEP.

BBHHRREEEEEEP.

"Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice message system. BOB MILLER is not available. To page this person, press 5 now. At the tone, please record your message."

I spend more time talking on the phone to that sickeningly cheerful voice than to my husband.

More than the hangers he leaves hooked on the bathroom door (the ones that bang me in the eye when I walk past).

More than the toilet paper in the bed.

More than the shoes he leaves right in front of the door for me to trip over.

More than all of the other annoying things Bob does -- and there's quite a list -- that's how frustrated I get over Bob and his cell phone.

More than a year ago, Bob had our regular landline phone disconnected because, after all, only telemarketers used that number, and cutting off that line equaled saving money. So now we have our cell phones -- identical ones, which means for a while he often took off with mine in confusion. Now, the cover of his phone is so beat up that doesn't happen.

In any case, our cells are often our only means of verbal communication. And apparently Bob doesn't value the need for verbal communication (does any guy?) because more often than not, he will leave his cell at home if he's going out, or leave it at work if he's coming home.

It's not that I have an obsessive need to know where Bob is at any and all times. It's that he has a need for me to know where he is at any and all times because his forgetfulness extends past leaving his cell phone behind, and I'm constantly calling to remind him of appointments, where he left his car keys, when checks need to be deposited ... and on and on (it does not, however, prevent him from remembering what time the Cardinals play or how many home runs Pujols has hit this season).

Then there are emergencies. Like the time I walked downstairs to find the basement flooded. Or when our cat, Scoop, was missing. Or when, home by myself late at night, I heard a creepy thump-thump-thump in the attic (turned out that was Scoop, by the way).

The next time Bob needs me to remind him of a dentist's appointment or where his khaki pants are, there's a good chance he'll be forwarded to an automatic voice message system.

HE SAID: Habitual readers of this column know I often refer to Callie as my cute and talented wife. Those are the adjectives I use because they are the most prominent in my mind. They are also accurate.

But there are many adjectives I choose to leave out for reasons obvious to all husbands. But after reading her portion of this week's column, it is time for me to succumb to my masculinity and defend myself at all costs, even to the brink of stupidity as I wage a counterattack. Time to break out some new adjectives.

On a fourth or fifth tier of adjectives, behind intelligent, caring, generous and witty come words such as (wince) insistent. Yes, Callie is insistent. She insists I always be available to her calls. Sometimes five or six times a night.

And, how about dramatic? Yes, my cute, talented and insistent wife is also dramatic. So I forget my cell phone from time to time.

Somebody sound the idiot bell! Bob's run off without his cell phone again! What on earth would he ever do without me! Why, he wouldn't be able to find his pants!

Why, yes, actually I would be able to find my pants if Callie were not around. Because they wouldn't be buried in a pile of blouses and skirts. And maybe I would be able to find paperwork, utensils and light bulbs if I were the house's headmaster. But this column has established who runs the asylum.

My cute, talented, insistent and dramatic wife is also a bit, um, selective.

Yes, I'm forgetful. Sometimes absent-minded. Sometimes goofy. Often lazy.

But Callie is sometimes these things, too. Her selective memory conveniently omits two occasions within the last month (I think it's been three times, but I can't remember) that she, too, has left her cell phone at home or at the office. Once, she made me drive to Jackson on my lunch break to hand it to her. She can be insistent, you know.

And twice today, as I was writing my portion of this column, she called to ask me to bring items to work that she had forgotten. Now it's up to me to remember them.

What, I ask, would she ever do without me?

To be honest, she'd be in better shape than I.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

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