A Telephone Call
BY DOROTHY PARKER
NOTE: this has no personal bearing on my life as of late. i just liked it. and i can relate to it. enjoy.
PLEASE, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now. I won't ask anything else of You, truly I won't. It isn't very much to ask. It would be so little to You, God, such a little, little thing. Only let him telephone now. Please, God. Please, please, please.
If I didn't think about it, maybe the telephone might ring. Sometimes it does that. If I could think of something else. If I could think of something else. Knobby if I counted five hundred by fives, it might ring by that time. I'll count slowly. I won't cheat. And if it rings when I get to three hundred, I won't stop; I won't answer it until I get to five hundred. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty.... Oh, please ring. Please.
This is the last time I'll look at the clock. I will not look at it again. It's ten minutes past seven. He said he would telephone at five o'clock. "I'll call you at five, darling." I think that's where he said "darling." I'm almost sure he said it there. I know he called me "darling" twice, and the other time was when he said good-by. "Good-by, darling." He was busy, and he can't say much in the office, but he called me "darling" twice. He couldn't have minded my calling him up. I know you shouldn't keep telephoning them--I know they don't like that. When you do that they know you are thinking about them and wanting them, and that makes them hate you. But I hadn't talked to him in three days-not in three days. And all I did was ask him how he was; it was just the way anybody might have called him up. He couldn't have minded that. He couldn't have thought I was bothering him. "No, of course you're not," he said. And he said he'd telephone me. He didn't have to say that. I didn't ask him to, truly I didn't. I'm sure I didn't. I don't think he would say he'd telephone me, and then just never do it. Please don't let him do that, God. Please don't.
"I'll call you at five, darling." "Good-by, darling.,' He was busy, and he was in a hurry, and there were people around him, but he called me "darling" twice. That's mine, that's mine. I have that, even if I never see him again. Oh, but that's so little. That isn't enough. Nothing's enough, if I never see him again. Please let me see him again, God. Please, I want him so much. I want him so much. I'll be good, God. I will try to be better, I will, If you will let me see him again. If You will let him telephone me. Oh, let him telephone me now.
Ah, don't let my prayer seem too little to You, God. You sit up there, so white and old, with all the angels about You and the stars slipping by. And I come to You with a prayer about a telephone call. Ah, don't laugh, God. You see, You don't know how it feels. You're so safe, there on Your throne, with the blue swirling under You. Nothing can touch You; no one can twist Your heart in his hands. This is suffering, God, this is bad, bad suffering. Won't You help me? For Your Son's sake, help me. You said You would do whatever was asked of You in His name. Oh, God, in the name of Thine only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, let him telephone me now.
I must stop this. I mustn't be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he'll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn't. That isn't so terrible, is it? Why, it's gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what's going on all over the world? Why can't that telephone ring? Why can't it, why can't it? Couldn't you ring? Ah, please, couldn't you? You damned, ugly, shiny thing. It would hurt you to ring, wouldn't it? Oh, that would hurt you. Damn you, I'll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I'll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.
No, no, no. I must stop. I must think about something else. This is what I'll do. I'll put the clock in the other room. Then I can't look at it. If I do have to look at it, then I'll have to walk into the bedroom, and that will be something to do. Maybe, before I look at it again, he will call me. I'll be so sweet to him, if he calls me. If he says he can't see me tonight, I'll say, "Why, that's all right, dear. Why, of course it's all right." I'll be the way I was when I first met him. Then maybe he'll like me again. I was always sweet, at first. Oh, it's so easy to be sweet to people before you love them.
I think he must still like me a little. He couldn't have called me "darling" twice today, if he didn't still like me a little. It isn't all gone, if he still likes me a little; even if it's only a little, little bit. You see, God, if You would just let him telephone me, I wouldn't have to ask You anything more. I would be sweet to him, I would be gay, I would be just the way I used to be, and then he would love me again. And then I would never have to ask You for anything more. Don't You see, God? So won't You please let him telephone me? Won't You please, please, please?
Are You punishing me, God, because I've been bad? Are You angry with me because I did that? Oh, but, God, there are so many bad people --You could not be hard only to me. And it wasn't very bad; it couldn't have been bad. We didn't hurt anybody, God. Things are only bad when they hurt people. We didn't hurt one single soul; You know that. You know it wasn't bad, don't You, God? So won't You let him telephone me now?
If he doesn't telephone me, I'll know God is angry with me. I'll count five hundred by fives, and if he hasn't called me then, I will know God isn't going to help me, ever again. That will be the sign. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty, fifty-five. . . It was bad. I knew it was bad. All right, God, send me to hell. You think You're frightening me with Your hell, don't You? You think. Your hell is worse than mine.
I mustn't. I mustn't do this. Suppose he's a little late calling me up --that's nothing to get hysterical about. Maybe he isn't going to call--maybe he's coming straight up here without telephoning. He'll be cross if he sees I have been crying. They don't like you to cry. He doesn't cry. I wish to God I could make him cry. I wish I could make him cry and tread the floor and feel his heart heavy and big and festering in him. I wish I could hurt him like hell.
He doesn't wish that about me. I don't think he even knows how he makes me feel. I wish he could know, without my telling him. They don't like you to tell them they've made you cry. They don't like you to tell them you're unhappy because of them. If you do, they think you're possessive and exacting. And then they hate you. They hate you whenever you say anything you really think. You always have to keep playing little games. Oh, I thought we didn't have to; I thought this was so big I could say whatever I meant. I guess you can't, ever. I guess there isn't ever anything big enough for that. Oh, if he would just telephone, I wouldn't tell him I had been sad about him. They hate sad people. I would be so sweet and so gay, he couldn't help but like me. If he would only telephone.
If he would only telephone.Maybe that's what he is doing. Maybe he is coming on here without calling me up. Maybe he's on his way now. Something might have happened to him. No, nothing could ever happen to him. I can't picture anything happening to him. I never picture him run over. I never see him lying still and long and dead. I wish he were dead. That's a terrible wish. That's a lovely wish. If he were dead, he would be mine. If he were dead, I would never think of now and the last few weeks. I would remember only the lovely times. It would be all beautiful. I wish he were dead. I wish he were dead, dead, dead.
This is silly. It's silly to go wishing people were dead just because they don't call you up the very minute they said they would. Maybe the clock's fast; I don't know whether it's right. Maybe he's hardly late at all. Anything could have made him a little late. Maybe he had to stay at his office. Maybe he went home, to call me up from there, and somebody came in. He doesn't like to telephone me in front of people. Maybe he's worried, just alittle, little bit, about keeping me waiting. He might even hope that I would call him up. I could do that. I could telephone him.
I mustn't. I mustn't, I mustn't. Oh, God, please don't let me telephone him. Please keep me from doing that. I know, God, just as well as You do, that if he were worried about me, he'd telephone no matter where he was or how many people there were around him. Please make me know that, God. I don't ask YOU to make it easy for me--You can't do that, for all that You could make a world. Only let me know it, God. Don't let me go on hoping. Don't let me say comforting things to myself. Please don't let me hope, dear God. Please don't.
I won't telephone him. I'll never telephone him again as long as I live. He'll rot in hell, before I'll call him up. You don't have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I ram. He knows I'm waiting here. He's so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you. I should think it would be so sweet to be sure.
It would be so easy to telephone him. Then I'd know. Maybe it wouldn't be a foolish thing to do. Maybe he wouldn't mind. Maybe he'd like it. Maybe he has been trying to get me. Sometimes people try and try to get you on the telephone, and they say the number doesn't answer. I'm not just saying that to help myself; that really happens. You know that really happens, God. Oh, God, keep me away from that telephone. Kcep me away. Let me still have just a little bit of pride. I think I'm going to need it, God. I think it will be all I'll have.
Oh, what does pride matter, when I can't stand it if I don't talk to him? Pride like that is such a silly, shabby little thing. The real pride, the big pride, is in having no pride. I'm not saying that just because I want to call him. I am not. That's true, I know that's true. I will be big. I will be beyond little prides.
Please, God, keep me from, telephoning him. Please, God.
I don't see what pride has to do with it. This is such a little thing, for me to be bringing in pride, for me to be making such a fuss about. I may have misunderstood him. Maybe he said for me to call him up, at five. "Call me at five, darling." He could have said that, perfectly well. It's so possible that I didn't hear him right. "Call me at five, darling." I'm almost sure that's what he said. God, don't let me talk this way to myself. Make me know, please make me know.
I'll think about something else. I'll just sit quietly. If I could sit still. If I could sit still. Maybe I could read. Oh, all the books are about people who love each other, truly and sweetly. What do they want to write about that for? Don't they know it isn't tree? Don't they know it's a lie, it's a God damned lie? What do they have to tell about that for, when they know how it hurts? Damn them, damn them, damn them.
I won't. I'll be quiet. This is nothing to get excited about. Look. Suppose he were someone I didn't know very well. Suppose he were another girl. Then I d just telephone and say, "Well, for goodness' sake, what happened to you?" That's what I'd do, and I'd never even think about it. Why can't I be casual and natural, just because I love him? I can be. Honestly, I can be. I'll call him up, and be so easy and pleasant. You see if I won't, God. Oh, don't let me call him. Don't, don't, don't.
God, aren't You really going to let him call me? Are You sure, God? Couldn't You please relent? Couldn't You? I don't even ask You to let him telephone me this minute, God; only let him do it in a little while. I'll count five hundred by fives. I'll do it so slowly and so fairly. If he hasn't telephoned then, I'll call him. I will. Oh, please, dear God, dear kind God, my blessed Father in Heaven, let him call before then. Please, God. Please.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twentyfive, thirty, thirty-five....
Monday, April 25, 2005
A Telephone Call
Sunday, April 24, 2005
I think it’s sort of funny how randomly (but at the same time not randomly) the topic of forgiveness has come up around me. The first time I had gone with Laura and Bobby to his church’s youth-group type thing called “Liquid.” This was first semester last year, so about a year and a half ago. The second time was on Friday (quite a jump in time, I’m aware of that) while I was at work. At Liquid, the pastor Tim spoke about forgiveness and how much harder it is to be bitter hating someone than it is to try and forgive them. Not that forgiveness is easy, it’s not at all, and that was I think the point of the talk. Forgiveness isn’t easy, and sometimes people may never even be sorry for what they did to hurt you, but you have to try your hardest (and according to the pastor, find your strength in religion) to forgive them and let it go. I think I remember it all correctly, and I know Bobby reads this so I don’t want to offend him in mixing up the details. Anyway, you guys get the point.
The second time this came up, Friday, I was at work, which obviously means I was in the computer lab on AIM, and one of the other tutors, Jeremy, was talking to one of his friends. I only got some of the details, but apparently her and her friend liked the same guy and I think the friend went after him. So this girl, lets call her Sara, was upset and the way she was talking she obviously wanted to punch this girl in the face. Jeremy then started to say how she has to forgive her, and Sara said, how could I forgive her? She knew what she was doing was wrong and she did it anyway! And Jeremy said that the only way she will be able to go on with her life is to forgive her, even if it seems impossible.
These two instances were pretty similar, and I remember after Liquid I got very angry. Mostly because I find it hard to believe that the only way forgiveness is possible is to do it through religion and prayer. But also, how are you supposed to forgive if the other person isn’t even sorry? I totally agreed with this girl. How are you supposed to just forgive someone who hurt you, when they didn’t even give a shit? When they stabbed you in the front? How is anyone supposed to just let that go, without hearing one “I’m sorry” from the other person? And even if they did say sorry, would it even be enough? I mean, it’s one thing if someone is apologizing for an accident, like bumping into you on the sidewalk, but when they do something intentionally wrong, does an apology even count?
I think about the two times I’ve heard about forgiveness this way, and about the first things that came into my mind each time. The people who came into my mind each time. The first time when the pastor talked about how hating someone and being bitter actually eats away at you, it was almost like he was talking to me. It’s so true. Someone dicks us over and we get so hurt, so angry, and we hate them. Hate everything about them. We spend how long hating them, maybe not always consciously thinking about it but knowing that it’s in us. And hating them causes us to maybe not be able to trust the next person who comes into our lives, because the memory and the pain of what that past person did still sits with us. This is more commonly known as “baggage,” I believe. And let me tell you, it definitely is. Maybe after awhile we start to justify things, see reasons for things, have good days where we tell ourselves we’ve forgotten, it’s past us. But most of the time when we convince ourselves everything is fine, we still get some type of relapse some time in the future. Unless, maybe time really does heal all wounds? But I don’t really think that’s true, because my mom still hates this man that she went out with when she was 19 with a PASSION. I mean you should hear the way she talks about this sorry bastard. Ok, I’m digressing.
So ok, the solution to this is to forgive them.
But what if they’re not even sorry?
What if they haven’t spent one minute thinking about what they did, meanwhile it just haunts you?
What does it take to forgive someone completely on your own without a word from them?
And how are we supposed to not be bitter and not more cautious the next time? How are these instances, these people, supposed to not have a negative effect on our lives?
We’ve all been through something like this, I think. And I just thought it was funny in the context that forgiveness came up around me, so far apart in time. Maybe it’s just me, but forgiveness is a bitch, man.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
So I'm in Barnes and Noble not too long ago, and I'm walking through the aisles like I usually do because I'm a total dork who likes to read and walk around Barnes and Noble even if I don't buy anything. I pass the "Relationships" section...actually it might have been "Relationships and Sex" or...well you get it. Passing it I realize that almost every book is red or pink. Hmmm, maybe because they're all aimed at women? There is one that catches my eye, "What To Do the First 100 Days of your Breakup" and looking through it, it was more like a comic book, complete with stick figures and tips like, "Day 2, burn everything that reminds you of him" "Day 3, make sure you talk to all his friends, seem happy but don't even mention him" and the list goes on. For 100 days. And for only $14.95 you can have this pocket manual to finally being happy!
This wasn't the only book on how to be ok after a breakup. Just about every other pink or red one was on the same topic, only most of them looked a little more professional than this tiny pink piece of crap with writing and pictures AND advice I could have came up with when I was in the 4th grade. There was one, "Be Honest, You Weren't That Into Him Either!" which was someones rebuttal to the insane popularity of "He's Just Not That Into You." I read an article on this book so I picked it up. The main point here was that women lower their standards for men because they are lonely and they think, hey he's not so bad. And when he shows interest, she gets more intrested and next thing you know, she's attatched, and he's not that into her anymore. So this book said, don't lower your standards. Don't try to have sex "like a man" (i.e. detatching emotion from the act) because that doesn't work for most women, and make sure you ARE that into them.
After putting this down I at first thought, now they're trying to convince us we never really liked them! We DID really like them! This is some sort of absurd psychological/publicity/girl power stunt to try and mess with us so that it puts the breakup in OUR control, saying oh well you didn't really like him anyway, so it'll be easier to move on!
But you know what? I think a lot of times, we aren't that into them. We meet a guy and sure he's alright, but I think a lot of times we don't get that butterfly feeling (the "za za zu" as Carrie Bradshaw put it) but he's nice and funny and he seems to like us, and girls for the most part like having some form of a significant other, so we start to fall for them. Because there's no one else around, because they make us smile, because they call us, because we want someone. Then we get caught up and before we know it, they're not calling, they're seeing someone else, and we're left with a box of Kleenex and Oprah. And a stack of pink and red relationship books.
So guys are with girls they're not into, girls fall for the guys they're not really into, what's going on people?! How about we all make a deal to pick the people we are just that into, ok? Because I'm sick of seeing these books. I'm sick of seeing my friends cry their eyes out. I'm sick of all the drama and the grief. Ladies, lets stick to our standards. Because the one who meets them will be the one that is just that into us, and then we can pass the "Relationships" section without a second glance.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
So today I'm in the car with my mom, and I bring up how sometimes I wish I was a guy because they seem to have it so much easier sometimes. She then says how she never once wished she was a guy and of course I asked her why and her reply was,"A woman doesn't need a man. A man needs a woman."So of course this statement brings forth the rebuttal of, ok so then why do men seem to avoid marriage like a strain of the Ebola virus? She then says, "Because men never grow up, they need a second mother."
She said this about 2:30 today and I didn't even think about it until about 10pm while conditioning my hair. If any of you know my mother, she's just about the smartest, no bullshit, coolest mom ever. (If you know her you can probably back up the fact that she's way cooler than I am). Usually she's pretty much right about every aspect of life, but I couldn't help but think about this one. Are wives just second mothers to their husbands? Are men really afraid to commit because they never grow up and then just realize that they can't do it on their own and need someone else to go through life with? I mean sure, love plays some part in it (at least I hope that's how it works), but is another big part because the man can't cook or clean or sew? Because they need to be taken care of?
This also strikes me as sort of creepy and very Oedipal complex-ish. If men think of their wives as a second mother, and they're sleeping with them...unless of course this is all purely subconcious. Right, let's just think of it that way.
Also, if this is true then due to my lack of/ lack of desire to have any domestic skills I'll die an old maid whose cause of death will be contributed to carb overdose since toast and pasta are pretty much the only two things I can cook. I guess all I have going for me is my charming personality and ferocious wit.
If nothing else, this statement sure does say a hell of a lot about women. We are pretty awesome.
Girls usually say that they want a "nice guy." I don't think this is really true.
When a girl breaks up with someone that was a real jerk to them, all they say they want is a nice guy. But really, they don't want a geniunely nice guy. I know plenty of geniunely nice guys, but the thing with them is they are nice to every girl. They hold doors for every girl, they pay for every girl they go out with, whether they are just friends or girls that they like. So really, if it's a girl that they like, she doesn't feel anymore special than the girl that he's just friends with.
Girls want guys who under regular circumstances aren't jerks exactly, but aren't exactly mr. super nice all the time either. They want to know that when he's super nice to her, it isn't how he treats everyone else. If he holds the door for every girl, isn't not a big deal. If he rarely holds the door, then holds it for her, it's a big deal. This doesn't mean girls fall for jerks. They don't want nice guys, they want guys who will be nice to them. If there are two guys she's interested in, and one gives her plenty of attention and calls when he says he will and the other gives her some attention...she'll probably notice the one that barely gives her attention when he does give her attention. The other one is always nice to her, and everyone else, so why would she think it means anything?
It may seem pretty messed up, but the bottom line I think is that girls just want to know they're special. And they do want someone who will treat them nicely, but not necessarily someone who will treat everyone nicely.
Maybe it's just me, but the future has really be freaking me out lately. Usually I'm one all for planning and knowing what's happening in advance, and even though surprises are good along the way, I usually like to know the general idea of where I'm going. And I don't. And that really scares the shit out of me sometimes. Sure sometimes it's exciting not knowing where I may end up, but its not knowing to such a great extent that I hate. What am I doing here? I'm a Communications major and I like to write. I do not under any circumstances want to teach. Ever. That's why I'm not a Lit major, any Lit major will probably teach at some point. So then what? Maybe it's dumb to want to know now, I'm only 19. But some idea would be helpful.
And I've known several people in the past few months that have gotten engaged or are planning weddings. I mean Jesus Christ, marriage?! We're 20 years old for gods sake. I don't even know what I want out of my life yet let alone in a man to spend the rest of my life with. But maybe not everyone is as confused as I am. Maybe when it's the right one you just know, whether you're 20 or 40.
I hate those questions, what's your major? What do you want to be when you grow up? I hate that even though it's not totally obvious, there's enormous pressure on me to do something fantastic. Maybe more from myself than the people around me. I hate that I don't know what I want. And that what I want most is to just know what I want.
Are we all in the same boat here? We all come to college because we're supposed to, because otherwise we'll be supersizing orders for the rest of our lives. We come here mostly not sure what we even want, being that at the time we're only 18 and have a limited sense of what the real world is, if any sense at all. So we go undeclared or pick a major and even then, are we ever really sure? How can we know what's going to happen, when the average person has four careers in a lifetime? Four different careers. Do we know enough now to pick a future? A husband? A forever? Will we ever really know, even at 35 with 2.4 kids and a white picket fence. Will we ever know what we want for forever?
Monday, April 04, 2005
This whole "He's Just Not That Into You" craze has gotten quite out of hand. I read the book post-break up when it came out and I'll admit there are quite a lot of truths in it. It's very true that if he's not calling you, not dating you, and not committing to you that hes just not that into you. I believe all of it. Because if he was that into you, wild horses couldn't keep him away. This mantra has served for women to feel liberated, I guess? Because now they don't spend time analyzing and re-analyzing every word of every conversation or in some cases, the non words of no conversations. Ok, so now we know that he's just not that into us. Is that supposed to make a break up easier? Wouldn't realizing it yourself be equal to him saying, hey look, I don't like you? And we all know how great that would feel.
Now this book has come out and it's sweeping the nation and women read it and nod their heads consistently from page to page exclaming, "oh my god! that's so true!" But it's not news here, girls. Maybe we need a slap in the face every once in the while, since women tend to not want to think it's them (really, who would?) but I would think the sting would last pretty long.
What pisses me off though, is the fact that women needed a BOOK to realize all this. I mean come on ladies! WAKE UP. If you can't wait to talk to him all day, but he doesn't even pick up the phone for days and days, don't you see that not talking to you isn't even bothering him? That he's not that into you?How come there are so many books out on relationships, aimed towards women? Why is it so difficult for them to see what's really there? Or in some cases, what's not there? Why do they need books and advice and therapists to tell them things that they should just know? Why is this book so popular? And does it actually help women? Ok so they realize he's just not that into them, how do they not take it personally?
And what if when the relationship starts out, he IS that into you? He follows all the rules that are stated in the book, he calls, he's around all the time, never too busy to talk/hang out, and then as time goes by, things change? My point here is, I would like to STOP seeing all these books about when to break up with a guy, and find the book that tells us how to find the guy that we WON'T want to break up with. Now write that one up, my friends, and you'll have a best seller.