I KNOW the secret of a long and happy marriage.
The single most frequent question from the mouths of angry wives is: "Why didn’t you call?”
Or, more precisely, “WHY DIDN”T YOU CALL?!!!#$^%&*!!!!”
I wish I knew, dearest. It would have saved a lot of pain, and I don’t mean yours.
Is it a boy thing, or is it just me?
The good intention is there. I really do mean to call, but first of all it’s too early, then it’s a bad time, then it’s too late, then there’s no phone…
“NO PHONE?!!! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, NO PHONE!!! THE WHOLE OF THE CIVILISED WORLD HAS A PHONE. WHERE WERE YOU — NAMIBIA!!!@#$%^&*!!!!”
Luckily, I don’t have a mobile phone, but the 21st century is closing in. My wife is threatening to buy me one, to hang round my neck. With a little note saying: “If found, please call… “
She’s right of course, and I am just a thoughtless, heartless, unloving and unloveable tosser.
All for want of tapping eight digits onto a keypad.
She assures me that, had I done so, and had I announced I was having a really good time and I wouldn’t be home until 2am, that would have been fine. It was the phone call that was important.
What happened before phones were invented? I was there, almost. I was born in an age when a phone call meant a two-mile walk to a call box. But wives and girlfriends still yelled: “WHY DIDN”T YOU CALL?#$^%&*!!!!!!!!!!”
It’s my belief that even Neanderthals with jutting foreheads, a single, long eyebrow and knuckles scraping the ground shuffled back to their caves at three in the morning to be met by a thighbone whistling past their ear, driven on the wind of a piercing scream: “WHY DIDN”T YOU CALL?#$^%&*!!!!!!!!!!”
Which means I should be better off, because at least now I can call. The world of technology is hemming me in. It’s domesticating me. Turning me into, if not an acceptable member of society, then at least an almost-acceptable partner.
If I want to do the right thing the maximum I have to walk is about five metres to a public phone — assuming I have the right change.
“YOU WERE IN A PUB — THEY HAVE CHANGE!!!!!!!!@#$%^&*!!”
Or I can ask almost anyone if I can use their mobile phone.
And I do want to do the right thing.
It’s a mystery.
Maybe there’s some sub-conscious issue about appearing to my peers to be a wimp.
“YOU’RE NOT A WIMP — YOU’RE A TOSSER!!!!@#$%^&!!!!”
I should ring, apparently, because she worries about me. And I should drop the testosterone fantasies because I would merely be seen as a caring and thoughtful husband.
I suggested that if she was worried about me, she could ring me. At the pub. Or on the mobile phone she’s going to buy me.
She says people would think she was trying to control me.
“Not that you were a caring and thoughtful wife?” I asked.
And that’s the secret of a short and disastrous marriage…