Chapter 9: Black Cord Fever

I know people today think that you come out of the womb with your cell phone already in your hands so you can call your mother and tell her you’ve been born.

However, that was not always the case.

There was a time when everyone did not have cell phones.

There was actually a time when there was only one phone in the house.  And it stayed there.  In one place.

It had a long black or white cord that tied it to the wall.  You had to go to it and talk where it was, no matter who else was around.

Of course back in those long ago days, we believed in the quaint concept of privacy, so people would normally give you your space.  We also actually had secrets and hid things from our parents.  Our parents were even known to keep secrets from each other as well as from us.  All, alas is gone with the winds of change…

It was a primitive time, but we managed to survive.

We also overheard a lot of really good stuff.

My Mother lived on the telephone.  She would normally sit at the kitchen table, where she was near food and water and could therefore last longer without stopping her tel-a-phon.

Some of the bits and pieces of conversations overheard still stick with me:

“She was passed out cold in the men’s locker room.  Well, she is a divorcee…”

“Those new suits at Belk’s are really good Chanel copies.  They even have little chains sewn in to weigh down the hems and make them hang right.”

“Well, he’s just White Trash.  That’s all there is to it.  Always has been and always will be…I can’t believe he’s my brother.”

“We have to change Dry Cleaners again.  Who do you use? They ruined my light blue linen dress….Mustard…well, it’s not my fault, they should have been able to get it out…I just told him the cleaners ruined it…. How was I to know he would go down there and yell at them?”

“She looks like a two dollar street-walker, but she wins State Championships.  We have to get her to train the girls.”

” I told her 20 years ago she would spend the rest of her life pulling him out of strange beds.”

“What can you expect?  They are Yankees from some god awful place like Ohio or something.”

Such were, The Days of Our Lives…..

As she got older, this phone addiction only intensified.

She also had a princess phone in her bedroom where she could lay down and chat.   However, that phone was usually reserved for performances of “how sick I am”.   She loved to call people and tell them she was on “death’s door”.  She still does.

The height of the “how sick I am stories” occurred a couple of years after my father died.  She had the Life Saving Crew take her to the hospital because she thought she was having a heart attack.

She had indigestion, but refused to believe it.

To make a long story short, she talked the doctor into putting her into the Coronary Care Unit for monitoring.  I think he did it just to shut her up.  Then she talked the hospital into running a phone line down the hall to her room in CCU, where phones normally were banned.

Then she started dialing:

“I don’t want to worry you, but I thought you would want to know.  I’m in the hospital… in the Coronary Care Unit…..they aren’t sure whats wrong…..I’ll be here a few days for tests….I know the Good Lord will take care of me….you don’t have to do that, but flowers are always so nice…Well, if you want to drop some food off when I get home, it would be so thoughtful.  I don’t know when I’ll be strong enough to cook again”

I happened to know one of the nurses there and we went outside for a smoke.  That’s when she told me there wasn’t anything wrong with her, but a tendency to over act.

That episode should have been a warning.  It started a chain of events that eventually led her to assisted living.

Over the years, she moved more from the kitchen phone behavior to the bedroom phone behavior.  She shut the doors and covered the windows.  She let go of her friends and focused on herself and her imaginary ills.

She lost the black cord and got about a dozen cordless phones and a cell phone so she always had one close by in “case of emergency”.

She started being afraid and believing her own stories.

She eventually cut the cord to reality…

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3 Responses to Chapter 9: Black Cord Fever

  1. Pingback: Chapter 9: Black Cord Fever | My Southern Gothic Life « Lost in the 21st Century

  2. David Cobb says:

    Great blog. I hate the phone. I know people who live on the phone. A good thing there are several lines and cell phones, otherwise I’d never get my weekly necessary phone call in.

    The people I hate are the ones who talk loudly on their cell phones: NEWS FLASH! we’ve all got one, you are nothing special, and your multi-billion dollar plans are all going to go up in flames most likely anyway. Better off expending all that energy in the gym…..Don’t get me started.

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