When Life Calls Just Answer
By Deborah Blackwell
My phone rang at 8 a.m. and I had barely opened my eyes after a night of sinus mucosal misery from some kind of non-Covid winter plague. I had turned off the alarm an hour earlier deciding that staying in bed would be the most I could manage.
I peered at the phone without my glasses. Should I answer? It was my friend LuLu. I love her but I just needed to sleep.
She must want something, I thought. She’s also my copy editor and usually only calls that early when she’s working on one of my stories and has a question about a quote.
But today was different for Lulu. When I finally answered after four rings (because I do adore her), she was trying to stave off a cigarette…and she doesn’t even smoke. She did, decades ago, while roaming around as a reporter in newspaper newsrooms, or tents in Afghanistan, working on her assignments.
Lulu is a world-travelled, fascinating woman. She’s a journalist-turned-copy editor, who like the rest of us, is trying to stay sane in a scary world.
But she refuses to turn away from the news — perhaps the only self-survival mechanism available to any of us right now.
The news seems meaningless. Fake news, contradictory news, breaking news, or boring news, there is no real ability to grasp our global reality without a cigarette — for Lulu anyway. I don’t smoke, and other than the daily glass or two of wine, have pretty much just gone numb.
Sometimes, and a lot lately, things can feel so meaningless. There isn’t much bringing joy to the world right now, so I suppose we have to do it ourselves. Find whatever it takes to add some meaning to life in a way that resonates for us, and even for those around us.
For Lulu, that’s a morning smoke with her hot coffee and a paper newspaper. For me, it was her wake-up call.
So I didn’t roll out of bed haggard, fever-sweaty, with a fuzzy mouth and fluid-filled nose. I curled back up and talked to Lulu about the present moment, old habits, new routines, and simply about life. We traded stories, gossiped, bitched, moaned, laughed…and found meaning.
An hour passed before I decided to finally hang up and get up. I needed a shower and still couldn’t breathe, but I smiled because I remembered, even in the simple act of answering the phone ~
Sometimes life lets us decide just how we want things to be.