The Sunday Call

Touch DDB - I´m hanging up nowI guess I am lucky.

I am in the fortunate position to both love my parents and live 4,166 miles away from them. I only lived in their basement for 6 months after graduating before getting in a car and driving away with a CD rack and a pocket full of psychological issues.

Like many people who live far away from their parents, and George Costanza, I enjoy a Sunday afternoon call. The call comes either before or after I meet a friend for my Sunday evening Czech lesson with beer. And this is perfect since I either need the soothing effects of beer during the conversation or directly after.

My Sunday calls are phenomenal. They are comforting, enjoyable and fun. I catch up on the goings on of my Hobbit like clan and hear the neighborly gossip that can only be enjoyable after spending a decade in another country. I hear about baseball, football and the bowel habits of my niece and nephew, who are both of an age that this is not wildly inappropriate.

The Sunday call puts front and center the quirks that I have come to know and love about my parents.

My mom raised four kids and my dad. She did this while working a full-time job, cooking, cleaning, bandaging wounds, and trying to dissuade us from setting something on fire or tricking one of the others to jump off the roof with a parachute made out of shopping bags. Um, hypothetically.

For one year, my mom lived in the unimaginable hyper reality shit storm of having four teenage kids. The fact that she hasn’t moved to Uganda and changed her name to Expiro Zantaga is beyond amazing.

For these reasons, she multitasks like an Irish iPad. However, one side effect to this is that having a sustained conversation with her on the phone is sort of like trying to sprint in your dreams. It is impossible.

Today, my mom is talking to my one year-old nephew who is apparently discovering the worlds of tasting dirt and maneuvering without the use of hands. This has led to several shrieking outbursts in the middle of our conversation.

“So Mrs. Sabatini’s not going to cook—No! Oh my God! Stop!”

By the time I get my mobile phone dislodged from my larynx, I have forgotten all about Mrs. Sabatini and her menu limitations.

My mom talks to the dog, the nephew, my dad, my brother, and the television if there’s a football game on. She does this as she cooks, cleans, and feeds animals with a phone tucked between her jaw and shoulder. The conversation ends in utter confusion.

For the most part, my dad and I talk books interspersed with baseball chat and an occasional foray into our pending medical issues.

My dad has an interesting conversational style that employs several discourse markers. A discourse marker, for those who aren’t ESL teachers, is a word or phrase one uses in order to direct a conversation. So if you say “however” after saying “Denise is a great friend,” then your conversation partner knows that some negative information about Denise is coming. If you say “furthermore” after saying “Denise is a great friend” your conversation partner knows you are adding more positive information.

My dad’s discourse markers are all food based and they all mean the same thing: I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

Me: “My boss is a total jerk.”

Dad: “What do Czech people eat for breakfast?”

Me: “I think I’m going to break up with my girlfriend!”

Dad: “Boy that Muenster’s a good cheese, huh?”

Me: “I am feeling quite depressed these days.”

Dad: “Can you get maple syrup in Prague?”

Me: “I think I want to kill myself.”

Dad: “What did you have for dinner?

After divulging my weekly eating habits and the habits of the Czechs, the Sunday call ends. I apply a bottle opener to a beer cap as soon as humanly possible. I rip the cap off, sometimes my nervous tics and twitches get in the way, but as the cooling, refreshing, relieving alcohol cools my distended larynx, I feel better. I think about my family, the calls, the quirks, and I laugh. I envy and pity my friends who aren’t as lucky as I am. Next Sunday there will be another call.

And I already can’t wait.

People – am I alone?

  1. #1 by Chris on June 10, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    I really hate to say this but this was a real thing that happened at mom and dad’s the other day…
    (In mom’s room)
    Mom: Tell dad I left a voicemail for him.
    (walk 14 steps down the hall)
    Me: Dad, mom left a voicemail for you.
    (walk 5 steps down the hall – looking in mirror. Trying to admire something. Can now hear dad call mom and both of their live voices on either side of the phone call)
    Dad: What do you want?
    Mom: Dinner’s downstairs.
    Dad: What’s for dinner?
    Mom: Go downstairs and find out!
    Dad: Just tell me!
    Mom: Angel hair and gravy!!
    (start looking for gun)

  2. #2 by greg galeone on June 11, 2013 - 12:54 am

    after reading this damo I have one thing to say-what did you have for lunch today.

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