This article, about our growing propensity to hang up the phone without saying good-bye, reminded me of a friend’s mother who was probably the most ill-mannered telephone user I ever knew.
After high school when most of my friends had moved out of their parents homes I still had one friend who absolutely refused to get his own place. Buckie was the youngest child from a family of five, and his mother babied him terribly, but not in a nurturing kind of way. She tended to scream and curse at him, all while washing his dirty clothes and making him dinner. Their relationship was made even more comical by their physical appearances: Buckie stood about 6’7” and towered over everyone he met, while his mother barely broke the five foot mark.
Even more humorous was the fact that since Buckie was in fact the third male in his family with the name “Buckie,” his family added the prefix “Lil” to differentiate him from his father and grandfather. I used to love calling Buckie early in the morning just to listen to his mother scream like a banshee for him to wake up and pick up the phone: “Lil BUUUCKIEEEEEE! PICK UP THE PHONE!” She would scream and scream, and I knew she never got up from the couch, but instead relied on her shrill, screechy voice to wake up her boorish son. If you want an idea of what she sounded like, pinch your nostrils together and then try to scream; now magnify that by 100 and you have a weak duplicate.
Inevitably, after several minutes of her nausea-inducing voice I’d hear Buckie’s grumpy response, “Shit, mom. Stop yellin’! I’m getting the damn thing!” Sometimes I’d hang up just as he picked up the phone.
The worst thing about his mother was that she could track Buckie like a damn bloodhound, and she never hesitated to call my house to remind him of the most trivial tasks he had failed to complete. She also never said “hello,” “goodbye,” or “thank you” on the telephone. Just about every time Buckie stopped by my house, at some point during his visit the phone would ring, I’d answer, and the conversation would go something like this:
Buckie’s Mom: You forgot to take out the trash lil Buckie!
Me: Um, this is Mark. Hang on and”¦
Buckie’s Mom: So get your ass home and take this shit outside!
Me: Yeah. This is Mark. I’ll get”¦
Buckie’s Mom: ”˜Cause if it’s still in the kitchen when I get back from town I ain’t cooking you dinner tonight!
Me: Okay. I’ll tell Buckie”¦
Occasionally I’d make Buckie answer the phone since I knew who was calling. He hated the fact that his mother would hang up on him at the end of their conversations, and invariably he’d be talking and all at once he would exclaim, “SonuvaBITCH! She hung up on me again!”
One time after she hung up on him Buckie called her back and said, “Hey mom?” and when she said “Yeah?” he immediately slammed down the phone.