I was babysitting. The mother told me that our synagogue's Rabbi was going to stop by and pick up a tallit (prayer shawl) that the mother had bought for the Rabbi on a recent trip to Israel.
“[R],” she said “If Rabbi K calls, tell her to come get her Tallit, she needs it for tonight and I told her to come pick it up. It’s just over there on the piano bench”.
I assured her that I would answer the phone, and if it was the Rabbi, tell her to come and pick up the tallit.
About five minute after the mother left, the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID – it was a cell phone number, and therefore there was no name, so I picked up the phone.
Caller: Hello, is [Mother’sName] there?
Me: No, she’s not. Can I take a message?
Caller: No…I’ll call back later.
And then we hung up.
Another five minutes or so after that, the mother called her house and I answered the phone.
Mother: Hi [R]. I need to need to ask you to do me a few favors.
Mother: Alright. I left my cell phone charging on the kitchen counter. I am currently using someone on the train’s cell phone.
Me: Ohh… okay.
Mother: I need you to go into my phone. Look in the phonebook on my phone, and find my friend’s number. I need you to call her, and tell her to meet me at ThisStreet. She’ll know what I mean.
Me (writing the street down on my hand, because I couldn’t find a sheet of scratch paper): Alright.
Mother: Thanks. And also, did Rabbi K call yet?
Me: I’m not sure. Someone called and asked for you, but didn’t leave a message…
Mother: Hmm… okay. I need you to call her back.
Me (in my head: what?!)
Mother: I need you to call the number back, and just find out if it was the Rabbi, because she really needed the tallit tonight, and I told her I would have it for her.
Me (in my head: you want me to call a random number and ask if it’s the rabbi!?): Okay, I can do that.
Mother: Great. Thanks so much. Bye.
Me: … Bye.
The whole time I’m on the phone, the little girl is bouncing around my feet – begging me to play with her. But I can’t play with her. I need to make her mother’s phone calls. So, I futz around with the telephone for a few minutes, trying to figure out how to find recently received calls. I finally find what I think is the right phone number, but can’t figure out how to get the phone to automatically dial it. So, I add the phone number to my right hand, the notepad, and then just dial the number.
Me: Hello. Is this Rabbi K…?
Me: Hello. Okay, I’m [Mother’sName]’s babysitter. She asked me to call you and tell you that you can come pick up the tallit.
Rabbi: Oh…I’m already on the toll-way and halfway to synagogue.
Rabbi: I should have said who I was when I called before.
Me: Hm. Yeah.
Rabbi: Who is this?
Me: [R] LastName. (The Rabbi knows my family, though I’m not sure if she made the connection right then.)
Rabbi: Okay. [R], just tell them that I will get the tallit later.
And that was the end of that conversation. By this time, the little girl is still bouncing, but threatening to “tell Mommy that you wouldn’t play with me”. I, of course, rolled my eyes and told her that her mom forgot her cell phone and needed me to make some calls for her. She, of course, was five years old and didn’t understand. My next call was to the mother’s friend.
Friend (presumably reading her caller ID): Hi [Mother’sName]?
Me: No. This is actually her babysitter. [Mother’sName] left her cell phone at home. She called me using someone on the train’s phone, and asked me to tell you to pick her up at ThisStreet.
Friend: Oh, okay. ThisStreet and what intersecting street.
Me: Um… I don’t know… She said you would know what she meant…
Friend: Oh, um… Hm… Okay, I guess I’ll figure it out.
Friend: Okay, thanks.
And that was the end. All those phone calls made by someone who absolutely hates the phone and avoids talking on it in whatever way she can. Seriously, if it weren’t for the internet, I would have no friends, because I so hate calling people. I’ll email them no problem. I’ll IM them with a little hesitation, but I’ll still do it. But phone calls take a lot of deep breathing, pacing, and courage.
Now though, I have had a lot of practice. Assign me any weird, awkward phone call, and I can make it. I’ll call anyone you want me to. I am the phone call girl!