My fourteen year old is in that stage where he doesn’t really want to talk to anyone, especially people he doesn’t know well. Suggest he talk to a teacher about an assignment? Um, no thanks. Ask him to call a store to find out their hours? No way!
So imagine my surprise when he recently started racing to the phone to answer political calls. He picks up the phone, and if he senses there is a real person on the line, he says, “Hullo?” If there is only a recording, he stands still, listening to the message until he gets bored.
If someone is talking to him, asking him questions, he generally acts as though he is trying to back away from the phone. The receiver is held a bit away from his face as he tips his head in the other direction. The conversation usually has a number of statements of, “I don’t know.” Sometimes, he looks to me for guidance, but recently, he has started acting as if he has the answers the caller is seeking.
This evening, the phone rang. No surprise, it was dinnertime. Everyone else in the house was ignoring the phone when W said, “I’ll get it!” and walked to the phone on the wall. “Morristown, New Jersey,” he read from the caller id as he picked up the receiver. “Hullo?” he said in the deep voice that I no longer recognize as belonging to my youngest child.
There was the customary pause as the caller made a pitch about something or other. And then the questioning began. W responded with a perfectly poised, “Well, I am not really sure.”
He listened some more. “I don’t know,” he said into the receiver. The caller, it seemed, was persistent in his pursuit of answers. Finally, I heard W say, “I’m not eligible to vote.”
I was close enough to the receiver to hear the far off voice of the caller respond, “I understand. Thank you for your time.” And he hung up.
W looked at me and smiled. “He asked me who I voted for, so I told him I wasn’t eligible to vote.” I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.
Clearly, the caller did not understand, as he said he did. If he truly understood, he would not have been trying to find out the vote cast by a fourteen-year-old boy.