“Ok, one more cigarette and then we’ll go.” If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, these words irritate you to your core. Yeah, we’re running late and this is the fourth time I’ve said that, but I mean, c’mon.
I’m beginning to suspect there is a genetic component at play here. Both of my parents seem to speak some alternate version of English where “I have to go” means “please tell me about the estate sale you and Debra went to on Friday.” Sometimes I just want to get off the phone. Sometimes I’m face to face with a less than thrilled PetSmart cashier. Sometimes I’m in rush hour traffic approaching Washington DC and Waze is having a fit trying to decide if I should take the bypass coming up in– wait, it’s rerouting.
A few years of u-turns, missed exits, and unamused retail employees has made me conscious of this familial defect and actively fight against it. When I’m on the phone with someone who literally has to go, I say “bye!” and hang up. This is especially true when the charming human I’m talking to is getting another call. Neither the cashier nor exit 5 are going anywhere, but there’s like, a time limit for answering a phone call.
Bert gets a pass because he’s 95 and he’s not paying attention. Patty, you’re killing me.
I was talking to her on Thursday when I got a work-related call. From Europe.
“…hang on, I’m getting a work call. I need to go.”
“Did I tell you about the deal I got on that Vitamin C serum?”
“What? No, I have to go. Right now. I love– ”
“One more thing!”
“–you. Bye crazy lady.”
Eventually, the remembered urgency in her voice triggered the customary guilt of my father’s people, so I called her back to ask what she needed to tell me. And what tidbit of information could be so important that its need to be relayed took precedence over a call from an overseas colleague?
“Oh Julie! You know what I realized? I look really good in yellow.”