"The motion or change or process of change is the entelechy
of the potentiality as potentiality (when still a potentiality)."
-Aristotle"There's nothing that the proper attitude won't render funkable."
- George Clinton
After my divorce, the phone never stopped ringing.A combination of unexpected costs, the untimely end of my student loan grace period, mounting credit card receipts, and the aftermath of a particularly nasty home foreclosure brought them down like hungry locusts -- calling at all hours, multiple times a day. They'd ask nicely. They'd ask not so nicely. They'd yell. They'd threaten. Again and again they'd call, asking for money that I simply didn't have to give to them.
The calls would wake me up in the morning and keep me from falling asleep at night. I'd block the numbers and others would show up. I'd screen the calls, looking for out of town area codes, but they'd use re-dialer services. Worse yet, when they couldn't reach me they'd call my father, or any other number they could find. Ask him where I was. Threaten him with garnished wages.
I remember when I was a kid, my dad getting the same kinds of calls. The debris from his own divorce, the credit card bills -- I remember this man; one of the coolest, most laid-back people I've ever known getting to the point where he'd just be yelling at the phone, cussing at the "vultures" at the other end of the line to stop calling him, that he was doing the very best he could.It was a daily reminder, not only of how broke I was -- but of just how far in the
hole I had gotten and just how ineffective all of my efforts were to fix any of it.
I was too young at the time to really understand the full picture of what was going on, but what I did know was that it had to be something pretty bad for him of all people to be losing control over.
And yet, when the same thing eventually happened to me, I ended up doing the same thing -- Losing my temper. Raising my voice. Calling names and threatening violence. Like that was going to do any good against some guy with a telephone headset who's job it was to listen to people yelling at him all day long.
But then something dawned on me. I sorta realized that the only one who was feeling bad after one of my collection call bitch-out sessions was me. I was the one who was exasperated and embarrassed over being unable to settle my debts, I was the one I was actually angry with for even letting this phone troll get under my skin. The person on the other end of the line didn't care. As far as they were concerned, it was just another number. All my hollering and protesting just proved that I knew I was in the wrong. You could easily imagine that all my hysterics and name calling were actually pretty comical to the collectors in the office on the other end of the line.
From that point on, regardless of the hour or anything else that was going on -- I took every call. The collectors, the telemarketers, the research surveys, the wrong numbers -- and as soon as they got done with their opening speech telling me who they were,And so I decided on a new tactic.
Vulgar, profane comments about the sound of their voice. About how I've been so lonely all day just waiting for someone like them to call. Man, woman, young or old -- it didn't matter: If you wanted a late payment from me, I wanted to get in your pants -- and I described that desire to collector after collector in as much filthy detail as I could think of. And not in a joking way, not some snickering prank to distract the voice on the other end -- I would use the first names they had given me, ask them what they were wearing, if there was anyone sitting nearby that could see them. If they liked it with the lights on, up against the wall, over the panties, under the blouse, shoes off, hoping to God that your parents don't walk in. Over the panties, no bra, blouse unbuttoned..I would talk dirty to them.
Most would hang up immediately.I was transferred to managers. I was yelled at by the bill collectors. More than I could count would listen to every word in stunned, awkward silence. Answering my questions with stammering syllables, half-words, and confusion. Every now and then you'd get a laugh, especially if you were aiming to charm more than shock. But one by one the calls would taper off.
The trick is to sneak them into it. Ask their name, get to know them a little bit. Make small talk until they revealed some detail that would then become the foot in the door for the naughty telemarketer sex fantasy that I would then drop onto them.
I remember one morning, sun peeking in through the blinds, drawing little lines across the floor of my old apartment highlighted with the sparkle of dust floating in the sunbeams. It was one of those rare moments where the silence of the morning was the exact music you wanted to hear, or at least it was for j and I as we cuddled in afterglow -- only to be interrupted by the ringing of the phone. It was too early for anyone else to be calling, so the conclusion was obvious -- but before I could even think of moving to answer, j stood up, looked me in the eye -- and with a devilish tone in her voice that I can still hear to this day asked,It was something I would do constantly, regardless of whoever happened to be in the room with me at the time.
Of course I said yes -- dying to see what would happen, only to hear her carefully draw the woman on the other end of the line in with comforting small talk about how she didn't know where I was but she would be happy to take a message that melted effortlessly into a breathy-voiced erotic explanation about just how cute the telemarketers voice was, and how it was making her feel sooo good to imagine what her face might look like.."Can I answer this one?"
By the time the bill collector disconnected the call we were both
so turned on that we spent the rest of the day in that room together.
It was such a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.People ask me sometimes why I can't just let people go. Why after friendships and relationships run their course and fade into the darkness that I don't just cut the line, break contact, slash and burn, and never look back.
It's hard to say why exactly, but I think a big part of it are because of those memories. Because regardless of how things end up, those moments happened. We're only in this life for a very short time, and so much of that time is spent searching, struggling, and chasing after things we aren't even sure we really want. As a result, it's these singular moments -- these unique snowflakes of happiness, even if they exist in memory that are so precious and valuable.
Call me sentimental, label me a big dopeyI don't dwell on past memories every single moment of my day -- especially as time passes and life edges on, but I'm always happy whenever they revive and return anytime the phone rings from a "unregistered number," or the sunlight hits the window just right..
romantic if you want -- that's just the way I see it.
Time passes. Things change. People move on. Eventually you find ways to get your individual debts in order.
The calls stop coming, in a sense.But it's funny how so many of those moments hang over you like stars in the
sky, just waiting to reflect their light back on you with just the slightest reminder.
Part II here
[Listening to: Clipse - "I'm Good (feat. Pharrell Williams)" ]