Friday, June 5, 2015

June's Bonehead Confession

There are times when I am glad that I know for certain that certain people never read my blog. This is one of those times. This is not so much as a single bonehead event, but a series of minor bonehead acts that come together and swirl around before they go down the drain of life.

There's a lady in my orbit that frequently calls me; let's call her Polly. She won't stop calling me. It's a cluster deal; no calls for weeks followed by an unrelenting barrage of ring-a-ding-ding. Each call Polly makes has the sole purpose of explaining a problem, asking for an outlandish favor, or just giving me an update on the 300 or so current issues in her life. A good 299 of those issues are home-grown and within her control, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Polly has been dancing on the lunatic fringe so long, it feels like home (and normal).

Don't get me wrong; change the name and this might describe any number of friends of mine and our conversations. Those "mutual" conversations are good for the soul. I like to hash things out with my friends. There's nothing mutual going on here and Polly is not on that list of friends.

My goal is life is to be kind to this woman, within limits. Her first interaction with me, long before I knew her well enough, was to explode into the drama of the day and attempt to drag me in. Okay, there's two goals. The other one is to avoid any and all phone conversations. It's nearly impossible to say goodbye once she gets on the line and my inability to avoid her calls puts me on the Bonehead path. It's clownish ineptitude, really.

So, the phone rings at 7:40 a.m. - the only day I wanted to sleep a little. It's Polly. I'm blind as a bat without the magic of corrective lens. I grabbed the phone without glasses on and darn it if I didn't answer it accidentally. While looking for my specs, I hear her voice: "Hello? Hello? Are you there?"

Dookie and double dookie. Determined to make this the shortest phone call in our mutual history, yet I got off the phone at 9:50 a.m. Nearly two hours! I'm a miserable failure at getting her off the phone quickly. I have to avoid starting the conversation in the first place.

Later that afternoon, I answered the phone again while I was out in the yard. I forgot to look to see who was calling. It was Polly. I actually have a red spot on my ear from holding the phone with my shoulder and trying to finish what I was doing while "wrapping it up."  At one time, I had a nasty rotor cuff surgery on that shoulder and by the end of the conversation, I swear I'm holding it four inches higher...I'm not sure if that crampy sensation will go away...

Full disclosure: I was giving my favorite cows treats. Don't ask...suffice to say, cows are quicker than you think and I also have slobbering cow drippings on my shirt by the time I disengaged from the conversation. There's nothing good about this phone call.

Must. Do. Better. 

I assigned Polly a special ringtone. While in the bathroom, my son answered my phone and as I came out - handed it to me. More Polly. It's one of the clusters; yep, that's it. We're still in the same 24 hour period, for crying out loud. I let her have her say and then tell her I need to get off the phone; I'm busy (it was true).

Next day, the phones rings and I let it go to voice mail because I am master of my communications domain. A few minutes later, it rings the "nutsy" ringtone again. I banish thee to voice mail, wench! About a half hour later, she calls again; no worries! I have plenty of room in my voice mailbox and I'm drunk with power. I listen to the rambling  voice mails; truly, there was NO reason to call me.

The next call was from an unknown number. I answer it. Polly was calling from her child's cell phone.  

"There's something wrong with my phone, it keeps going to your voice mail, " she said. 

This is a good example of the crazy logic. I like sensible, logical logic. OH DEAR LORD, there is no logic to her statement at all. Why would there be something wrong with HER cell phone? You got my voice mail! We connected, just not verbally. See, that's what I'm trying to avoid, Polly...get it? 

It doesn't matter. The only thing that mattered was this: I was stuck in another phone call. If she could see the look on my face, she wouldn't call back.

The next day, I get a few more that have to go to voice mail. The phone call cluster is not over yet.

A was friend is coming to visit and I saw her car pull into the driveway. I walk down the sidewalk to greet her. The phone rings. I see it is Polly again. As my friend gets out of the car, I place my finger on the onscreen button that will slide her over to voice mail; I inadvertently linger too long and the next screen appears instead. My finger is in the perfect spot to answer the phone instead. I've accidentally answered the call! Noooo! My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I fumbled with the phone, trying to take back the physical motion that caused me to answer it and without thinking, I said "a bad word" into the phone.

Polly is praying for me. 

On the bright side, I may have broken the spell of the current phone call cluster.


Face your fear! Come on, we all do boneheaded things from time to time and there's safety in numbers. Join our rag tag bunch on the fifth day of every month to share your boneheaded act or someone else's faux pas, if you're really desperate...we need a good laugh (or something to compare with our own boneheaded mistakes). 

Hosted by  Author Diana Wilder of  Diana Wilder, ...About myself, by myself and your old pal, Cherdo, of Cherdo on the Flipside, an equal opportunity offender and virtual bonehead mistake factory.

Join us, if you can - when you can! This is a no-stress blog hop!


  1. CHERDO ~

    >>... darn it if I didn't answer it accidentally.

    Yep, I've done that, too.

    What you need to know is that when it comes to modern technology, I am behind EVERYONE except for my dear friend the Flying Aardvark. (She's the only person I know who has NO home computer and NO cell phone. She's my hero!)

    Only within the last 3 months or so have I acquired my own cell phone. Prior to that, I was using my Ma's old Cricket phone which my brother Napoleon purchased for her circa 1901. But when Cricket said they were going to stop servicing that old style of phone and offered a good deal on a new (old style) "flip-phone" (yes, THAT'S how far behind-the-times I am), I gave in and got one.

    I've had people laugh at my Cricket flip-phone, and I'm thinking: Heck, this thing is only about 12 weeks old. I also now have the ability to "text" for the first time ever. There's only ONE THING I hate more than yakking on the phone, and that is "texting". (In all seriousness, I have considered taking this phone into a Cricket shop and asking if there's some way they can disconnect the texting feature.)

    There have been a few times when my phone rang and, in looking to see who it was, I accidentally answered the call. Suddenly, I hear a voice: "Hello? Hello?..." OH, POOP!!! I just connected with them.

    >>... I'm a miserable failure at getting her off the phone quickly.

    Try my trick: A few times I have deliberately hung up on the caller, then immediately turned the phone off. The next time he and I yak, I'm all... "Yeah, I don't know what happened, but suddenly you were gone".

    Another thing I do is to turn the phone off at night. Good luck waking me up with a phone call at "7:40 a.m.". I figure: If it's not an emergency between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM, I don't wanna hear about it. And if it IS an emergency between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM, well, I'm in Reno and you're not so... there ain't nuttin' I can do right now to help you anyway.

    Yeah, I'm tough when it comes to modern technology, but the Flyin' Aard is STILL the hero I aspire to emulate mo' better! I'd really like to TOTALLY DISCONNECT someday.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. On any given day, I can have dramatically different views on the topic of cell phones. In one way, it gives me freedom because I could leave the house and kids, knowing that they could call me in an emergency. That said, it never IS an emergency. The calls are usually something along the lines of "can I have a Frappacino" - emergencies like that.

      On the other hand, I work with a lot of different things and I get a lot of questions or requests. I do like that I can answer immediately. I like that I can check email while I'm waiting in my car in line at the bank. Geekishly, I can look things up when the mood hits me...and it hits me regularly. I love YouTube videos of bands performing - and I can pull those up to amuse myself when I'm stuck waiting.

      Most days, however, I'm not positive it's worth the trouble. Being plugged in all the time is annoying. I truly believe it cuts into creativity, too.

      By the time I disconnect, I'll have one of those alerts around my neck to shout into: "I've fallen and I can't get up!!"

      Stephen...always a pleasure, young Renophyte.

  2. I have a Polly, right down to the cluster. The clusters arrive when she has been wronged by someone and the calls are updating me on what she's done about it. The trouble is she's frequently wronged by someone. Different people. It's not occurred to her there's only one common denominator, her.

    1. I've got a triple dose of empathy and it occurs to me the Polly needs a friend more than most; I also think she has a raging dose of ADD. But most annoying is the fact that she asks "what can I do?" repeatedly and never listens - and sometimes, the solution is very simple. That chick can make anything a huge problem. It's an art.

  3. I'm related to several Polly people... some of whom I cannot, in good conscience, avoid. I avoid using the phone as much as possible, possibly because I fear becoming a Polly.

    1. I am not a fan of the phone call that comes from someone who doesn't have anything to say, too. Especially if you live in town! If you're gonna take an hour to tell me, just come over and I'll make coffee.

  4. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    ...and to think it all started with the simple question "Polly want a cracker?"

    I hear ya! I've got a "Polly" of my own. I won't reveal her name but she calls me every night at midnight (from Jacksonville). When I answer I am treated to two solid hours of heavy breathing - no words, mind you, just breathing - but I know it's her.

    I have a relative who is notorious for long winded conversations, face to face and on the phone. He calls me from Penna and holds me captive for hours telling stories. What annoys me most is that he tells the same stories over and over again and I have to keep inserting "you don't say" into the conversation.

    You wrote:

    << I also have slobbering cow drippings on my shirt >>

    Green Shady says:

    Next time that happens, wring your shirt into a container and chill that nutrient rich elixir in the frig. Pour into a glass, add a wedge of lime and you've got the perfect pick-me-up for a hot summer day. Mmm mmm good!

    Thanks for the smiles (and disturbing flashbacks), dear friend Cherdo!

    1. Correction: Polly IS a cracker. Seriously. I'd love to tell more specific stories but then it would be pretty clear who I was talking about (to people I know).

      My daily cow visits make me laugh. It's the time of the year when there's lots of produce around and so I save peelings, etc., and walk over to the fence line and feed the cows - that's their cow treat. Each cow has a different personality and one of them is the Gene Simmons of cow tongues. That tongue is literally a foot or more in length. None of the other cows act like him - he is absolutely nuts about the fruit peelings and he'll start licking my arm like crazy if I'm giving a different animal something.

      If I'm in the yard, he'll make a ridiculously long and loud call for me to come to the fence line. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm nuts when they hear his magnus moo followed by me shouting, "I don't have anything right now!"

      While I was on the phone, he took advantage of my distraction and stuck that creep tongue up my sleeve. Shudder!

      You can't make this stuff up. :-)

      Have a lovely day - I'm skipping the drinky poo. It's the lime...gross.

  5. Oh, gosh, I feel for you Cherdo. EVERYONE knows not to dare call our home before 9:00 am unless someone is dying. There is no way I'd stay in a two hour conversation with someone I didn't want to talk to. I'd butt in, announce I was getting off the phone and hang up. Verizon will let you block specific numbers! Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. Barbara, you'll be proud to know that I am keeping my phone off till noon. Of course, that will only work until she finds out I have a land line, too. (actually, I have had a serious discussion with her...we'll see if it works).

  6. Cherdo, you definitely need to do something about this lady. She is driving you crazy, obviously. Shady has some good thoughts. The ring tone thing works pretty well, but if she finds a way around it, alas. Just stick with it, and maybe she will find another ear to bend.

    1. The thing that bugs me about someone driving me crazy, Linda, is the fact that it isn't that long of a drive.

      I've heard she is very skilled at finding other ears to bend.

  7. lmao oh that sounds soooo annoying. So glad all i have to deal with is a cat jumping on me, those people with that type of drama would drive me up the wall.

    1. Oh, it is. This should be in one of your cartoons because it definitely makes me feel clownish trying to avoid contact.

  8. I've had friends like that over the years but at least you've ended the phone cluster...for now.

    1. That gets me time to plan my final exit, right, Maurice?

  9. Oh I think Polly is off her meds. She may be someone with bi-polar issues and is in her manic phase-be thankful she does not live near you. I have had people in the past like that and I deal with clients like that. I don't answer the phone. In the past, with "friends" I have hung up the phone and unplugged it. I remember one person even knew they were manipulating me and others and called himself a "psychic vampire" since he emotionally sucked the life right out of us. I now am polite but say that they only have 15 minutes because I am busy and must deal with other calls and other people. This worked both at home and with clients. I learned this when i volunteered at the Distress Centre

    1. When I worked, my pat answer (when someone asked me if I had a minute) was, "No...I have five and they're all yours...but then, I have to get back to work." I need to revive that approach.

  10. I had a friend that constantly called me late at night when I was about to go to bed. It always gave me mini heart failures because who calls that late at night? I finally had to tell her that I turn my phone off at 10pm and if its emergency call my husbands phone ( I knew she wouldn't do that). Sometimes boundaries make all the difference.

    1. Normal people get the message about your "boundaries," I think she thinks that each conversation is new and different...not covered by the old boundaries conversation.

  11. This is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

    I'm sorry. Was that callous? I know this is painful for you. But, dang, if it isn't hilarious.

    I'm about to all Therapist on you, so bear with me. I figure all the money I've spent on therapy should help others. I mean, seriously.

    So, back to the therapy... I think this is a boundary issue (in fact, dare I say that 80-90% of the problems we face as humans result from an inability to set a good boundary? Yes, I dare. I say it.) as mentioned above by Holli.

    First, it's very hard to establish a boundary with someone who doesn't appreciate other people's boundaries. Your Polly sounds like that person. Ironically, I'm willing to bet that she'd have no trouble hanging up on or even telling someone outright if she didn't want to talk to THEM. This is because the people who refuse to accept other people's boundaries have no trouble setting their own and holding them down. Second, it's hard to set a boundary with someone who's so used to crossing your boundary. This person will likely not accept you drawing the boundary very well. That said, you must draw the boundary.

    Frankly, this Polly sounds like an excellent subject for boundary work. I mean, if you and she stop being "friends" because you draw the boundary, will your heart break? I think not. So, this is all gain and no lose. A very possible side effect of setting this boundary is that it might allow you to develop an actual friendship. Maybe not as close as your other friends, but more real than the crazy on display right now.

    Here's the thing, I'm fairly certain she'll call again. The expletive will only last so long as a deterrent. (Just being nosy, but which one did you use? Did it rhyme with duck?) This is the same person who told you something was wrong with her phone, so she used her kid's phone. I'm willing to bet she knew you were avoiding her, and she was like "Gotcha!"

    How do you draw this boundary? Be honest. Tell her the truth (whatever that is for you). Tell her when she can call and when she can't. Tell her she can only talk until you tell her you can't talk anymore and she MUST respect that. If you really want to get in there, which I recommend, because as we've already established... what is there to lose?... tell her the truth about how one-sided this "conversation" is and that if she wants to actually be your friend it can't all be about her. She may decided to unload from here on out to someone else, but is this a bad thing???? Or she'll have to sit and think on it and decide if she can/will accept your terms.

    That will be twenty dollars. Cheaper than a "real" therapist. You can thank me later. In cash. Because nothing says thank you like a twenty dollar bill:)

    1. The most crucial point in your excellent comment was "if you and she stop being friends because you draw the boundary, will your heart break?" The answer is no; we never got the chance to establish a friendship. I'm like MacDonalds...she just pulls up and asks for stuff, ha ha.

      You must have given me the blogger discount, 'cause $20 is a bargain. The follow up to this requires a private email, ha ha.

  12. Nothing good can come from a phone ringing at 7:40 in the morning.

    1. Truer words were never spoken. And really, I'm a bit of a worry wart about kids, etc., so the late late or early early call gives me a small heart attack anyhow.

  13. Hi Cherdo,

    So sorry to hear about your dilemma. I take it that you don't have call display...but I guess it wouldn't be a big help without your glasses. If you can turn the ringer off entirely during your sleep hours, this would help. Sometimes letting an answering machine pick up, with some sort of humorous message, may pass a hint to Polly. Who knows? :)

  14. Laurie used to have a "Polly"... I met them once. I'd like to think that I am an upgrade. Fortunately, her "Polly" is nowhere near so persistant- just enough so that when her sentimental side says, "I wonder how they're doing," her logical side slaps her in the forehead and asks if she wants a V8 now.

  15. I am very, very bad. I block some people on my phone. I have intentionally given an incorrect phone number to people I have known for five minutes who want to be my new best friend. I am so bad. I think you should block Polly and her kid. When you see her, tell her your phone is broken. If you accidentally answer a call, hang up immediately, and the next time you see the person, what do you say? "My phone is broken." I have also told people they have the wrong number. Oi! I am evil.


  16. I know I shouldn't have but I laughed !

    My land line to repairmen, doctors, Walgreens blah blah
    But my cell phone is for family and close friends and The Square One surgical team.
    So I know if it rings at at 7:30 am, it is for a reason.
    I know it is dumb but get a new phone ! Peace of mind is a new phone and number.

    cheers, parsnip


Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo