Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Biggest Peeve Of All

     It’s a mouse-size pet peeve, but sometimes it roars within me like a lion. Frequent readers of this blog know I’m often at odds with my eighty-six year old mother. Mom is not mellowing with age and is feistier than ever. She spends most of her time watching Court TV and putting down the government. When I call, my role is that of a human crossword puzzle, keeping her sharp, even though I become blunt in the process. Ninety-nine percent of the time I call her, but she infrequently dials me. This is where my pet peeve comes in. The conversation sounds painfully like this:
     I pick up the phone. “Hello?”
     A pause on the other end of the line. Finally, a sharp voice barks, “Who is this?”
     It’s my mother. Her voice haunts me even in my sleep and I’d know it anywhere. But it irks me to have someone, especially my own mother, call ME on my phone and ask who I am! So I answer back, “Who’s this?”
     After three or four volleys of this she hangs up.
     A minute later the phone again rings. It’s her, of course. I pick up the phone and answer, “Hello?”
     Silence. Then an angry, “W-h-o   i-s   t-h-i-s?”
     “You called me,” I say. “Who are you?”
     As she slams down the phone I can hear her grumble, “Well, the rudeness of some people!”
     Realizing that treating an old woman like this, particularly one who gave birth to me, is probably going to land me in hell, I nevertheless pick up the phone when it rings the third time and offer up a cheery, “Hello?”
     A lengthy silence. Then, “Stephen, is that you?”
     “It might be. Did you dial someone named Stephen?” I ask. 
     Her mind is extremely agile despite her age, but her hackles are up. I’ve been her son for fifty-eight years but she’s too irritated to recognize my voice. 
     Slam goes the phone.
     I’ve had enough. This time when the phone rings I pick up the phone and say, “Hi Mom.” 
     “Stephen Franklin, is that you?”
     I know I'm on thin ice when my middle name pops out. “Yes, it is.”
     She’s unaware of all the devices on the market to identify callers (not that I needed help identifying her). She asks, “How did you know it was me?”
     “Lucky guess.”
     “Society’s going to hell in a hand basket,” she bellows. “You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had getting through to you. And it’s a crime just how rude people are these days. No phone manners at all!” 
     Twenty minutes later she’s still telling me what’s wrong with the world and I’m thinking about faking a bad connection, hanging up and putting my head in the oven. But I don’t. 
     I’m afraid of hell. And the oven needs cleaning.

     What are your pet peeves?


  1. Sounds to me like you start that round. Why not just start the first call with "Hi Mom, it's Stephen (your son)", then not have to face 20 minutes of complaints about the phone calls.
    My peeve currently is political robot phone calls. Phone rings at any time, a voice (obviously recorded due to poor quality) ways "I'm calling for Congressman ... " and I immediately hang up.

  2. Now Joe, where would be the fun in that? Besides, Mom needs someone to vent at and I'm all she's got. Poor thing!

  3. "What are your pet peeves?"

    Keep coming to my blog, eventually they will all be posted... and updated ;-D

  4. Heehee! You are SO bad.

    I had a bad habit of sticking my foot in my mouth when my (now late) grandmother would call. My first words were, out of habit, "Hi Grandma. How are you?" And a split second later, just as she would launch into all her ails, I would remember my promise to myself to NEVER ask her "how are you?"

    But now she's gone, and I miss her. I wonder how she's doing? ;)


  5. LOL!

    I don't think you took your first step to hell until you asked, "Did you call somebody named Stephen."

    That was definitely a toe in.

    hee hee hee

  6. The middle name! Always a harbinger of doom, unlike Starbuck, who turned out not to be at all.

    With that apocryphal comment, I will also note that I meme'd you, and you've got homework. See my blog today:

  7. I have so many I would write a book, but this one is one of mine too. People to it to me all the time. That and you tell them it's a wrong number and then they want to argue with you. Look mister the gal gave you the wrong phone number. Hello.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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  9. Stephen Franklin, you are a very bad boy. But funny, very funny!

  10. My biggest pet peeve at the moment is no shave November. Who do they think they are? Rubbing it in my face that I will never grow an awesome lumberjack style beard. Damn you all!

  11. That's funny.
    My pet peeve is telemarketers. Especially when they call on nights when Hubby and son are at karate... I'm interrupted enjoying my "Me" time.

  12. My biggest pet peeve is when my kids ask for something - usually something that takes 10-15minutes to make or get for them - and then I get it for them and they suddenly don't want it anymore! I hate that!

    By the way...

    Hi! I was recently awarded the Versatile Blogger Award and in response to that I’m passing the award on to 15 other bloggers. I’m really happy to say that you are among that number! Congratulations! For full details and for the nifty badge for your site go to

    I really love your site and I’m happy to share this award with you!

    Lacey (*award winner*)

  13. Mine's 88, and you have my sympathy...I suffer too!


  14. Funny stuff. In hell you are going to be the switchboard operator...

  15. Dear FCSD: I don't recall deleting your comment at 5:49 p.m. Either I did so accidentally, or my computer farted. So sorry.

  16. Oh, I actually did that. Sorry. I made a glaring typo and was too embarrassed to allow it to live on. I didn't realize it would leave that comment deleted thing on the blog.

  17. I'm so glad I stopped by!!! Great post, great comments. Sticking with the phone call pet peeves, mine would be when my niece calls and I am subjected to the following. Ring ring (me)"Hello...?" momentary silence--(her)'hi' more silence on her part. (me, trying to jump start the conversation)"Hey Marn, what's up??" silence yet again--(her)'nothin.'

    Most of the time I've NO idea why she has called. She is in her 30's, one would think someone her age would know proper phone protocol.

  18. One of my pet peeves is that they want to check your register tape when you walk out of certain stores. Sometimes I find people STANDING IN LINE waiting to LEAVE THE STORE!

    Since I found out that there is nothing illegal about doing it, I breeze by all the people waiting, waive to the person who checks those receipts, and joyfully announce, "Thanks, but my cashier already checked mine!"

  19. i hate when I call someone preferably my boyfriend and e chooses not to answer the phone, then thirty minutes later he calls proclaming he didn't feel the pone ringing. I'm like whatever just let me be..