At home I’ve more or less stopped answering the phone. If Nigel is in he will answer it. If he’s out we’ve agreed it’s probably better if I let it ring. The chances of it being someone phoning me via Next Generation Text are infinitesimally low. The times Nigel has had to come home and solve the mystery of a muddled conversation in which I have completely misunderstood the caller (indeed sometimes misunderstood who the caller IS) are many. It wasn’t worth it. Let it go. It’s a shame the Tesco delivery man can’t ring to say he’s held up, but life goes on.
However, the other late afternoon the phone rang. It was dark, raining and I had been starting to fret about Nigel’s absence with our dog Izzy. They’d gone out in the car to a favourite dog walking spot, a local reservoir, and they’d normally be home by now. My worry was caused by the fact that Izzy has what is known in dog circles as a dodgy recall. Actually, if you call her she will come bounding back with endearing enthusiasm, delighted to see you, but sometimes only after she has finished doing what SHE wants to do, which can take some time. We go for months and months with nothing like this happening, feeling quietly confident that she has finally outgrown her adolescent contrariness (she’s five and a half) but then that stubborn streak makes an appearance again. We’d had a couple of wayward absences recently, so I was worried.
So I picked up the phone.
“Love, it’s me, can you hear me? I’ve got a crisis”.
My heart sank to subterranean depths. Izzy lost in the dark, on the edge of the moors, really is a crisis.
“Yes, I can hear, what’s happened?” I can understand Nigel on the phone better than anyone. Firstly because I know his voice so well and secondly because he knows, on the phone, to keep extraneous words to a minimum and stick to the point.
“I’ve lost my car keys”.
I cheered up. Not such a crisis at all. He told me where his spare keys were and I said
“No problem, I’ll meet you at the reservoir car park. I’ll set off now”.
“No…..not there….meet me at the corner of the main road and Brackenley Lane.” Very perplexed (that’s about a mile away from the reservoir, where his car presumably still was) I said
“What are you doing there?”
“It’s a long story, just pick me up”. As I said, he knows there is no point trying to tell me a convoluted story over the phone…….
So I picked them up and all was well. But it was indeed a convoluted tale and we amused ourselves later imagining what Izzy would have made of it all, so I’ll let her tell it, with my explanations (where it’s not obvious) in italics.
“Izzy speaking. Nigel and I went to the reservoir and I had a wonderful time. I ran and ran. Then we got back to the car park but we didn’t get in the car, which was odd. Nigel seemed to be looking for something, then we set off round the reservoir again. I wasn’t at all keen on that (I was tired) but off we went. (Nigel retracing his steps to look for the keys). Eventually got back to the car park again. Still didn’t get in the car.
Instead we set off down the hill to the village. Very, very odd. (Nigel didn’t have his mobile with him. To be fair, there probably wouldn’t have been a signal anyway, this being rural Yorkshire. So they set off on foot to the nearby village, about three quarters of a mile away, where he knows a couple of people). We go to a house. No-one in. We go to another house. Nigel talked to a very nice man and used his telephone. (At the second attempt at knocking on doors in the dark he finds someone in, who is surprised to see a bedraggled Nigel plus dog on the doorstep). Then we went and stood on a street corner. (Much more sensible than walking back up the hill to the reservoir). Very, very, very odd and I wanted my supper. Stood there for HOURS doing NOTHING in the RAIN (fifteen minutes). Then a car pulled up and it was VERA. What was SHE doing there? Then we all got in Vera’s car and went back to the reservoir. Then Nigel got out and Vera left him there! Then Vera and I went home. Then we all got home and I had my biscuits, which was a relief. What was all THAT about?”
She might well ask.
The funny thing (is it funny?) is that, back at the car park, Nigel found the car keys on the windscreen of the car. Someone had obviously found them on the ground, seen the make of car on the key fob and, very kindly, picked them up and left them where they would be found……..
You are now saying, those of you who are still with me after plodding through this tortuous tale, but surely this is nothing to do with hearing loss? You’d be right.
Except. What if I hadn’t answered the phone?