I was inspired to write this post mostly due to this Anonymous comment- "The only thing I would suggest that your readers might like to see is more articles about your FABULOUS brother. KA-KOW!"
(I do have a better picture of the two of us together, but it's almost 5 years old. In it, both of us are thinner and have more hair. Sad.)
My brother Tommy rents a room at our sister Jenny’s house. I’m always shocked and awed that they can live together, even more surprised that Jenny’s SO doesn’t have a problem with it. Or he pretends not to have a problem with it, which is just as good. None of this is relevant to the following story except to establish the fact that Tommy lives with Jenny.
Got it? OK, I’ll move on.
One week, Jenny and Brad went out of town. They had left in the morning, after Tommy had gone to work. Later that evening, he returned home, watched TV for awhile and then got up to head to bed. It was at this point that he noticed that the back door was unlocked. Usually Jenny is very particular about making sure everything is locked up, so Tommy was mildly creeped out. He found it hard not to picture the person who had snuck into the house and was waiting to ambush him and make clothes out of his skin.
But, he then remembered that he was a grown up and decided to head up the stairs to bed (after he’d locked up properly).
At this point in the story, we’ll cut to my house, where I'm laying in bed reading. My phone rings. I see from caller ID that it’s Tommy’s cell phone and I answer.
Except no one’s on the line.
I’ve had cell phones call me without their owners knowledge before. Usually, I cup my hand around the mouthpiece and yell the person’s name into the phone. Which is what I did. A couple of times.
Cut back to Tommy. He’s walking up the stairs in a house that he KNOWS should be empty and hears someone calling his name, very faintly. So, does he do what any rational human being would do under those circumstances (especially remembering the unlocked door) which is to run and hide in the nearest closet and maybe pee yourself a bit? No, in the quiet, questioning and clearly freaked out voice of someone who suspects an intruder in house, but is too polite to run for a butcher knife he says, "Hellooooo?"
Now here we run into one of the really frustrating things about text. If I were a better writer, it wouldn’t be an issue. I would be able to convey how truly ridiculous and hilarious the way he said that one word was. But the way he said that ‘hello’ is impossible for me to convey in the written word. The fact that he responded at all, still makes me laugh, sometimes to the point of tears. Just picturing him going up the stairs, hearing this disembodied voice saying his name. Seeing him pause, mid step and respond, Hellooooo? Oh crap, it’s enough to make me snort.
I yell his name into the phone again and he finally realizes where the voice is coming from (his pocket) and also the fact that he recognizes it.
It’s interesting (but basically irrelevant) to note that I was uncharacteristically unconcerned at all of this. I’m usually the type of person that will imagine all kinds of horrible and totally unlikely scenarios given the slightest provocation. The fact that my mind didn’t immediately jump to an image of Tommy, trussed up by a burglar, trying desperately and quietly to call his big sister for help, probably prevented an unwanted visit from the police after I called 911.
So when he finally gets to the phone and both of us realize what’s happened, he tells me that if it wasn’t so totally hilarious, he would likely be crying as he was that freaked out.
But here’s my sisterly advice, Tommy. If this situation ever presents itself again, at least take off your shoe to defend yourself with.