I had been dating a waiter for about 3 weeks. One weekend, he called me while I was working overnight at the hospital. I got home and listened to the voice mail: “Hey, I was just calling to see what you were up to. Call me back whenever you get this.” Cool, I thought, in my sleep-deprived state. I threw my phone back on the floor and collapsed into my blankets to finally cool off my over-worked brain.
Three days later, I hear my phone ringing while I’m in the shower. I run out of my bathroom, soaking wet, a torrent of steam behind me, and manage to answer before my voicemail picks up. “Hey! What’s up? Sorry I didn’t call you back earlier.” “Yea,” he replies. “I was kinda’ expecting a phone call,” he laughs one of those it’s-not-really-funny laughs. “I’m sorry, I was busy,” I say. “You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy.”
I wanted to say “Yes, but if you screw up at work, the worst that could happen is that someone chokes on a bone or maybe has an anaphylactic reaction because they have are allergic to the seafood or peanuts that you accidentally brought them, whereas if I screw up, someone stops breathing or dies of a heart attack or gets kidney failure from the drug I accidentally give to them.” Instead, I say, “I’ll call you.” “Forget about phone calls,” he says. I laugh, one of those it’s-not-really-funny laughs. “I’ll call you,” I repeat, before hanging up on him.
I thought about what he said, though. It was true, to some extent. We’re all busy. And if someone is not engaging enough to tear you away from your busy life, are they really worth it? If they are already complaining, after 3 weeks, that you’re not giving them enough attention, what will they do later in the relationship? If they’re bringing you more stress than joy, is there a point in continuing to see them? My answer, ultimately, was no. No, we’re not right for each other, and no, it’s not worth it.
A few weeks later, my friends and I were walking home from a big party downtown. My phone started ringing. I picked it up and saw his name. I turned the phone off and stuck it back in my pocket and continued my conversation with my friends.
Later, when I listened to the voice mail, I hear “Hey! I saw you walking down the street and I tried shouting your name, [pause here as he tries to shout my name out of his car window again] but I don’t think you heard me.” So, that means he probably saw me picking up my phone and putting it back in my pocket. Oops!
Oh well, my loss. Or his. Depends on how you look at it.