. . [On the other end of the line – dead silence.]. .
Probably a spam call.
You know how they go. There is often a long pause before the recorded message kicks in – but I recognized the number…
. . . [Nothing]. . . .
. . . [Not even the chirp of crickets]. . . .
It was my buddy Stan, but apparently he was not talking to me.
Who calls for the express purpose of not saying anything?
Other than Stan?
A better question is why?
I had to ask.
“Did you call just to give me the silent treatment?”
. .[No response] . .
Apparently, he did. But again, why?
A few things came to mind. The top of the list being my shed.
Before my recent move to town, I had ten acres and a large pole shed. It was the perfect place for Stan to stash things. He stuffed all kinds of junk in there, much of it of dubious origin or worse – dubious nature. I don’t want to get into the paranormal here, but there were things made entirely of metal lurking in the back of my shed that glowed, growled and hissed.
Before the move, I loaded up what I had the courage to handle and dropped it all off at the end of his driveway.
The other stuff, I let him deal with.
He still has not forgiven me.
“Is this about the shed?”
. .[Not a peep] . .
“Or about insisting you pay for your own drinks at The Pit, like for the first time ever?”
. .[Dead air] . .
“Okay, maybe it is about that thing you said should never get back to Daphne. I swear, it was not me.”
. . [Still nothing] . .
I guess that wasn’t it. So what did I say or do that warranted the silent treatment?
It is getting like that everywhere. Too many people are breaking ties and canceling relationships for the thinnest of reasons. To avoid being ghosted you have to self-censor everything you say and everything you do and even then, it is like walking on egg-shells.
It is not just culture, politics or religion that is fracturing the norms of civil behavior. The reasons go deep and wide as the ocean, and to such ridiculous extremes as brand loyalty…
Oops… maybe that’s it.
People around here are passionate about their pickup trucks and our little rural area is nestled deep within Ford country, specifically Ford F150 pickup country.
Here Ford F150 ideology is so rigid that the only other vehicles you are allowed to drive are the F250, F350 or F450, but then only if you have a damned good reason and take care not lord it over the F150 people.
And earlier in the morning I was looking at a used Chevy Silverado.
An act of pickup apostasy.
I mean, hey, I moved to town. Different rules apply.
Einstein once claimed that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, but obviously he was ignorant of the velocity of gossip.
It must have gotten back to Stan.
“I was just looking at the truck. It was a good deal, but I have no intention of buying it. So are we good?”
..[Road kill could make more noise than the sound of his response]..
I had enough and hung up.
It was Daphne, Stan’s wife.
“I just called to tell you that Stan is having a problem with his phone. He forgot to take it out of his pocket before tossing his jeans into the wash. Now the microphone doesn’t work. He can hear, but the person on the other end can’t hear him.”
“Okay, that explains a lot.”
..[A long pause]..
“Yeah, and by the way, what’s this ‘thing’ that is not supposed to get back to me?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, put Stan on.”
“He is not speaking to you. Maybe forever.”
“Why? Because of the ‘thing’?”
“You know how he feels about Chevy trucks.”