Today is my husband’s birthday. It is a milestone birthday, but out of kindness, I won’t say which mile. I love that people are greeting him. It has been a cornucopia of electronic services to wish him the best on this his day. The first thing to arrive was a text message on his cell phone that arrived at 12: 14 a.m. from his best friend. I am sure that he wanted to be the first. Luckily, we were still awake.
There have been text to landline calls where the phone rings, you answer, the robot woman tells you the telephone number of the person who has sent the message, (like anyone knows a full telephone number these modern days) and are instructed to press buttons to hear her repeat the message. Very sweet to have a female robot tell you happy birthday on behalf of unknown callers. Problem is, this call came at 6: 32 a.m.
After following her instructions, I was wide awake. In the dark of our room, the jolt of the telephone ringing would have been enough, but as electronic fate would have it, the cordless phone went speaker on us, so every word was heard, loud and robotic clear.
Laying there being encouraged to go back to sleep by my husband was a nice gesture that was entirely ruined by the chortle chortle beep beep of the next text message that came in. It was a text on his cell phone to thank him for using the text to land line service.
My relatives on the east coast think that because of his years of working odd hours, he is up with the crack of dawn’s sunshine whip. Not so! By living long enough, he has earned the right to have his sleep disturbed on a regular basis through the night or suffer unpleasant consequences. As they want to give him a share of their happy vibes before they go into their jobs and have their attitudes ruined by all the forces dismal, negative or disappointing, they have elected to call him on their way to work. In this instance, them being one hour earlier than us is not a good thing. Couldn’t their quick cell phone calls have kept until lunchtime?
Before I could flip out of bed, use the washroom and slip back under the covers, another friend sent him birthday greetings via text message. I am sure that they mean well, they probably scheduled them on their calendars, but sweethearts, really? This is a man who is retired. He has been retired for over a decade with this birthday. He does not rise with the birds and neither does his wife. Our version of happy hour is the moments between sunrise and 9 am.
I know, we could turn off our cell phones and not have a telephone on the head board of our bed, but you have to remember what we did in our work lives. Both of us lived 24/7 on-call. We have two phone lines because we had to be reachable at all times. We both had beepers when only doctors and technicians carried them. We were the first kids on our block to have cell phones courtesy of our employers.
After we no longer worked in those positions, we had people who were sick and frail, so we are trained to pick up every call, listening to every message and expecting to respond with military swiftness. Back in the day, we have beat the ambulance to the ER after one of those calls. Now that those people are no longer with us, the habit has not faded.
We live in the land of ‘NO Gottas’, a magically place where you do what you want at your leisure. A place where the only thing you must do is survive to the next birthday.
ON that magical day next year, I am hoping that greeting cards are back in fashion. Lord knows, they are quieter.