Saturday, March 18, 2006

Phone Home

Is it possible, just slightly possible that I have achieved something worthy for a call home? I think for a moment about the last few calls home. There was the phone call from the mountains of the Former Soviet Republic of Georgia informing my parents that I had been evacuated due to a revolution and by the way, Dirk and I broke up. There was the call from a hospital bed in Bosnia to ask my father if he knew the Croatian word for Appendicitis. There was the call from a windowless office building in DC to tell my parents I had passed the Foreign Service Exam so please make yourselves available to any strangers asking questions for my security clearance. And there is now.

“Wait a second,” Moms voice is slow and drawn out. I look at my watch. It is 11:30 PM in Washington DC, making it 8:30 PM in Washington State, and all together possible that my mother is already drunk.

“Let me get your father on the phone.”

I am pacing the wood floors of my studio apartment, high above Dupont Cirlce, watching the blink of the red light on the Washington Monument warning the oncoming planes of its presence.

“Really Mom, It’s not that big of a deal. It's kinda supposed to be a secret. But okay, if you want to get Dad.”

She tries to cover the receiver with her hand, but I still hear her scream.


I hear a click and the bass hum of my Fathers monotone voice.

“This is your father.”

“Oh Michael, is that you?”

“Who else would it be Daisy? We live alone. Did you think the neighbors would be picking up our phone?”

“It’s Meg and she wants to tell us that she is moving to LA."

“Mom, it’s not Meg, it’s Jane. And I’m not moving to LA. Dad, it's not that big of a deal, I just wanted to tell you and Mom that I’ve been invited to LA for a casting call. One of these reality TV show things."

Dad speaks. “That’s nice. Why are you telling us this?”

I fall back on the couch, pull up my sweat covered legs up underneath me and squeeze my sock covered toes mindlessly.

Mom answers before I can.“Oh Michael, she is going to be on MTV!”

“Well, not exactly Mom. Well, not yet. It’s just a casting call. I probably won’t get it, but I feel kinda special they invited me. It's exciting, don't you think?"

“I didn’t know you were an actress. I thought our other daughter was the actress in the family. Who is this again? ”

Dad can’t see my eyes rolling while I listen to my parents latest routine. The ‘I just can’t keep up, there are so many of you’ routine.

“Dad, I’m not an actress. It’s a reality TV show. Like 'The Bachelor'. It's all a secret, I don't really know the details yet, but I just am, myself and they record it, and-"

“Don’t tell them I’m a drunk.”

Silence. Dad breaks it.

“That all sounds very nice Jane."

“They are flying me to LA this weekend for a casting call. I just wanted someone to know. You know, in case I get sold into white slavery or something. I just wanted you guys to know.”

More silence. I curl up a little more on the couch, so that my chin is resting on my knees.

“Well, sounds very exciting. Good luck. I’ll be sure to tell your mother in the morning.”

“Oh stop it Michael. I'm fine."

“I just wanted you both to know.”

“Great, let us know how it goes.” And with that, Dad hangs up.

I can still hear Mother breathing into the receiver. I hear footsteps, and my Father taking the phone out of my Mother’s hand.

"C'mon Daisy, let me take you to bed."

I hear the click of Dad's shiny wingtips crossing the kitchen floor.

I hear the click of the receiver, returning to its cradle.

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