Saturday, January 29, 2011

R U Sure?

I didn't recognize the number in the cell phone display window and the app that announces my caller didn't know it either, so I was pretty sure I must have looked like someone else when I answered the phone yesterday and I was right. From what I could hear of the background, the caller was in a bus terminal or perhaps a cement mixer and was already NOT having a good day before dialing me.

I answered with my name as no one has ever accused me of originality. 'Is Matt there?' the caller asked. No, I said, just me, repeating my name. 'Where is he?' She wanted to know and then cutting to the chase, 'Are you sure?' she asked. That's the one that stops traffic, at least in my neighborhood. The question of questions. Quite frankly each of us may well ask that of ourselves and one another everyday of our lives for as long as we live and never be satisfied with whatever answer we receive.

Am I sure? Are you sure? How could we be? Why should we be? In a universe where the only constant is relentless change, how sure of anything can any of us be? Sing this all together and see what happens. Shouldn't that be hear what happens? Are you sure?

Turns out, it wasn't quite the existential question I had first believed. My caller had this number for her cousin's boyfriend, Matt, and now she was a little confused because when he'd called her earlier----waitaminit Miss Frisky, I thought. What in Sam Hill (or his uncle, Dan) is your cousin's boyfriend doing calling you and (more importantly) do I still have 1-800-TROLLOP on speed dial? Did I ever have it on speed dial?

I didn't actually ask those questions aloud (I hope) because she was still speaking, undaunted by my complete lack of reinforcement (that 'uh-unh' and 'umm' stuff we do because no one can see us nodding our heads so we have an audible but non-word harmonic sound repertoire for phone soliloquies) pausing every fifteen seconds (or half thought) to ask me again 'is Matt there?' and 'are you sure?' And still, that Mattstard wasn't there!

If I had a bouzouki, I might have admitted yes, indeed, I was Matt, just to see/what would happen next but I remembered Mom's admonition: never ask the question if you can't stand the answer. And since I wasn't sure if roaming charges applied I was more than happy to let the seeker ring off and search elsewhere for Matt.
-bill kenny

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