“Hey. Just calling to wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you’re doing well, even though I’m sure you are. Call me back when you get a chance.”
I played the message back a few times, trying to get the lay of the land. “I hope you’re doing well, even though I’m sure you are.” There was something about his tone. “If he’s so sure, why is he suddenly asking on this 358th day of the year during which I haven’t spoken to him on any of the other ones? Christmas miracles, I tell you. “And better yet, what makes him so sure?”
Staring at the the miniature cassette icon that sits poised in the upper left-hand corner of my phone, I carefully contemplate my next move.
“I could call back now and just get it over with.” The clanking of holiday china, play-by-play of the game, and unreasonably loud familial political debates would mean that I’d probably have to keep the conversation short.
“I could call back later, but I don’t know what time I’ll be leaving here, and if later happens to be tomorrow, then that’s just dragging this out unnecessarily.”
“I’ll text him. That’s why God made text messages! Thank God for text messages!”
“Ehhh…but then if he called me and I text him back, that’s not right. That’s lopsided. It would have to be a text with a promise to call back later, and then this still gets drawn out…” I always knew my belief in reciprocity would come back to bite me one day.
“I mean, technically, he already accomplished the purpose of the call. He wished me a Merry Christmas. That can stand on its own. Do I even have to call him back? He shouldn’t give a gift expecting that it be returned, right? That’s not proper Christmas etiquette.”
“Boom. That’s my out right there. I win. Merry Christmas to me.”
But wait, didn’t he ask me to call him back ?” I play back the message again. “Yup, he asked me.”
The cassette in the upper left-hand corner of my phone is taunting me now. It knows I can’t get rid of it. It’s saying, “Haha, I know you thought you ran things, but I run this! I am your cell phone, chick. Where would you be without me? I keep you connected…to everyone, whether you want to be or not.”
I tell it to shut up. I tell it that cassette tapes went out with Animaniacs and TGIF and that I don’t even know why it’s still being used as a voicemail symbol. I tell it that I can get rid of it, if I want to, all I have to do is delete the message.
But I can’t delete the message…
“It’s Christmas, right? What would Jesus do?”
So, of course, I decide that Jesus would call him back and wish him a Merry Christmas.
Conversation…conversation…conversation. “Say what?”
“Now I remember why we only speak once a year.”
“Nothing. Merry Christmas.”