My answering machine messages from my 79-year-old mother while I was gone for a few hours last weekend:
[answering machine beep]
Darla? Darla? Darla? Darla?
Darla! Darla! Darla! Darla!
Gah! Are you there? DARLA! I know you’re there! Oh! God! There it is! Do you hear it? That beeping? It’s the freakin smoke alarm! I think it’s the one downstairs. Or it’s the one upstairs. I can’t tell. But it’s driving me out of my freakin mind. Oh! There it goes again! Good god almighty–
Can you hear me? CAN YOU HEAR ME! DARLA! God! Are you exercising again? You can’t hear me? Helllooooo? HELLO? Why are you always exercising?
[mutters under breath]
…it’s like she’s obsessed with exercise…always when I call…every single day…always with the exercise and the working out…it’s like an obsession, she just never stops. God!
Darla! I know you’re not there but when you come home I need you! Did you hear me? I NEED YOU! Darla! The smoke alarm is going off again! It might be the batteries! But I think it’s your father! He’s giving me a sign!
(my father passed away 20 years ago) Oh, I just know it’s him!
[smoke alarm chirps once in the distance]
Gah! Do you hear that? He’s driving me crazy!
[puts hand over phone and yells]
I get it, Ralph! I know it’s you! You can stop with the smoke alarm now!
[normal voice] Wait a minute, maybe it’s my rice cakes… Oh jeezum crow! I put them in the toaster because I was gonna make a hamburger… you know I can’t have bread… you really should try it, Darla, it’s– OH GOOD LORD!
Nope, not my rice cakes. Wouldn’t you know it, I never even put them in the damn toaster.
[smoke alarm beeps]
AHHH! The beeping! Again with the beeping! Ralph! Is that you, Ralph? I hear you! I know you’re here!
[covers phone and yells]
Quit bugging me!
[smoke alarm beeps]
That is IT! I have had enough!
[phone slams onto table]
[chair drags across floor]
[loud grunts and groans]
[crunching noise as plastic hits floor]
God! Oof! Oh! Finally! Jeezum crow!
[picks up phone] Darla? Darla, are you listening?! Can you pick me up a new smoke alarm? And some batteries? Or just take me to the pharmacy? I’ve got a headache now and I’m outta aspirin. Oh and also the bank and Food City cuz I need some more rice cakes. When I was smashing the smoke alarm they burnt to a crisp in the toaster.