It’s harder to keep in touch with people these days. Things are opening up, but it’s going to be a while before we hop in a car and visit people the way we used to.
I met the pastor of my church while walking. She told me the youth group had been meeting via Zoom, and the kids were overcome with shyness, seeing their faces on the screen. I wanted to say, “Don’t they realize they can be seen when they show up in person?” But I sympathized with the teenagers. When my husband Peter and I tried Zoom for the first time, it was a little awkward.
“Shouldn’t the camera be higher?” I asked. “You can see right up our noses!” We found a cardboard box and adjusted the laptop angle.
“Why is it so smudgy?”
“I had sticky tape over the camera,” Peter told me.
Peter cleaned the tape residue off the lens, and I realized I looked a lot better smudgy.
But we’ve been trying to make a point of calling people more often. (Peter calls it “drunk dialing,” although we’re not.) Sometimes it takes some effort. Sometimes I’ve wondered if these unexpected phone calls are more a bother than a pleasant surprise to the folks we call.
Yesterday, I got a surprise call myself from Geri.
I haven’t seen Geri since I moved 1,400 miles away years ago. She’s quite a bit older than me and not someone I knew well, so when I saw her name pop up on my phone yesterday, I was very surprised. I didn’t know I even had her phone number, to be honest.
“Geri!” I said, “this is Carrie!” There was a moment of awkward silence.
“Geri, did you butt-dial me?”
“Carrie? This is Carrie Classon?”
“Geri, you butt-dialed me, didn’t you?!”
“No! I was trying to call someone else. Someone to clean my house.”
Geri has a huge old wooden house sitting on a hill. It even has a turret on one corner. There are nooks and crannies and stairs everywhere. I would not want to clean Geri’s house.
“Geri! I am not going to clean your house!”
“Oh, no! But it’s so good to hear your voice. How are you doing?”
I knew Geri was getting up in years and her husband, Clarence, was older yet. So I asked, somewhat timidly, “How’s your family?”
“Oh, we’re fine. But we’re old! I am 88 and Clarence is 95!”
“Only 95? He’s a pup!”
“He parks in the spot reserved for WWII veterans they still have at the grocery store, and I think he’s the only one who uses it!”
Geri and I chatted for quite a while. We both had news and a lot of shared memories.
“You and Peter have to come and visit sometime!” Geri said. I promised we would next time we were anywhere near.
“Clarence is going to be mad when he finds out you called me up to clean your house and ended up inviting us over,” I told her.
“No, no, we would love to see you! It was great talking with you!”
“It was good to hear from you, Geri.”
And it was. Talking to Geri made my day. I suddenly felt less worried about those “Hi! We were just thinking about you!” calls Peter and I have been making.
Yes, it’s a little awkward making conversation with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, but sometimes a little awkward is OK, I decided. Sometimes a little awkward is a lot of fun.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.
DISTRIBUTED BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION