July 26, 2011

The Communication Vortex

There is a reason the game “telephone” was funny when I was a kid, when you were a kid, when we were kids.  I remember sitting in a big circle at church and one kid would tell a secret into the child’s ear next to them, and it would be passed from child to child in a circle until the last person before the initial player.  The last person would blurt out a message something like “Sausage is a cow’s best friend” and the initial person would share the secret which was something like “Do you have to pee?”

You see, they’re almost nothing alike, completely unrelated, don’t rhyme, don’t start with the same letter and certainly don’t evoke any concept in the same conceptual cloud. 


And today I had a taste of why the telephone game used to be fun and now is a nightmare.  You will probably never go to a grown up party where the telephone game is introduced or even mentioned as a possible laughter-inducing accessory.  It sucks.  It’s stupid, and I hate it. 


And why…  because today while I am out in the pool trying to pry free the little hole that the pool vacuum tube goes into—because my son has pulled it out again when we asked him to please leave it alone.  And because the vacuum was actually on when he pulled it out, it was sealed shut with the vigor of, well, I couldn’t open the damn thing.  So when my son yells out the back door that my husband is on the phone for me—I say “ok” and give him a quick kind lashing for making me sit outside and futz with the damn pool vacuum, when I could be inside in the air conditioning sipping lemonade and eating tiny cakes sprinkled with powered sugar, like I usually do.  And I take the phone from my 7 year old. 


My husband is in a panic and asks me to quickly make sure my 4 year old is not locked in the freezer.  Uhhhh, the 4 year old who is in front of me at the counter, sucking on an orange?  That 4 year old?  I’m confused but intrigued as my 7 year old eagerly watches me to see, I find out later, how much trouble my 4 year old is going to get into trouble for locking the ice machine on the front of the refrigerator, which apparently sounds much like, “my brother is locked in the freezer” for which I called my dad at work to talk to my mom, so she could release said little brother from his bondage in the freezer. 


I feel horrible for my husband because he is in a sincere panic.  I pause.  I don’t know where to start once I get off the phone.  I am really irritated.  I’m covered in sweat from the 100 things we pulled out of the blazing AZ heat from Costco, I’m covered in water from fighting with the pool vacuum, and I am pretty sure I am about to be covered in my own spit if I explain to my son why I might be pissed that his dad is calling me from work to check on his little brother in the freezer.


And why pray tell, would he be in trouble for locking the ice machine?  Don’t we have more important things to discipline around here?!  Seriously?!


“Go to your room and find something productive to do before I lose my temper.” 


And without a word, which rarely happens for any reason, my young man walked quickly to his room.  That was to be the end of the telephone game for today.  It was time for some vodka in my lemonade, and someone might still end up in the freezer.  I haven’t decided yet.