“Buddy” Calls

I was really very surprised last night that I had actually accomplished my goal of getting at least one more bin full of priced and tagged items ready for the yard sale. I woke up pretty stuck. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about the living room. Then I had my daily buddy call and I was revived.

A “buddy” call could not be more different that its cousin, the “booty” call. It is a daily prescription from the Outlook Development folks. When I first heard about buddy calls I was completely horrified. You see, I hate the phone. I truly do not believe there is a man, woman or child on earth who loathes the phone more completely than I. Intellectually I am very grateful for all things of modern convenience, and the cell phone has been there for me when I needed to find Hannah, or get help because I ran out of gas, etc. But I miss the 80s.

Remember the 80’s before everyone had cell phones? Remember the anticipation you would feel as you walked in the door, after having spent the day running errands, and checked to see if that red light was blinking on your answering machine? That was awesome. It was fun, back then, to get messages. I think getting messages all day long has taken some of the fun out of it.

And then there’s the part that where it used to be you could spend a day (or even two!) away from the phone and when you finally returned all your calls, no one was mad at you. You would simply say, “I was running errands all day yesterday.” Or, “Hannah and I drove out into the desert and decided to stay in this hilarious motel we found.” And the person on the other end would say, “Oh, did you have fun?”

In addition, I firmly believe that but for those people who live far away, the phone should be used as a tool for planning to meet up in person to discuss the minutia of the moment. As soon as someone wants to discuss in detail the nuances of another negative experience I simply shut down. Not ever with the real stuff, but always with the drama.

This is, in part, due to my awesomely, unconventional brain which doesn’t process audio as well as video. My brain shares some qualities with those of the ADD brain. (I hate it when people own a diagnosis by saying things like, “My ADD…”) I have a difficult time staying engaged in a phone conversation and tend to drift off. I understand things I read and people I can see MUCH better than I understand things I only hear. For instance, when playing trivial pursuit, the odds of me being able to access the answer to a question goes up exponentially if I’m allowed to read it.

Nowadays I often take “Phone Vacations,” where I’ll put the phone on airplane mode to have a whole day (or more! gasp!) when I am actually unplugged from outside stimuli. And my subconscious does me favors like leaving my phone in my purse or the car or at home or what-have-you. The universe is on my side. Most of the time I wind up with a phone that shuts off the ringer on its own in my purse when I’m not looking.

On the whole, this has lowered my stress level about the phone. But there are days when it just. doesn’t. stop. ringing. and this aversion, or what I like to think of as “this boundary,” has gotten me into trouble. I’ve missed many a communique from people that I love who really needed someone to talk to. I’m not worried about the doctor’s calls I’ve missed, or the phone calls from my father’s industry folk, or even those from school-mates and work. But I hate not being there for those who matter most. And it’s so much worse now than the 80s because, no matter what you say about your phone habits, people tend to think you’re dodging calls. And when someone is in need of a shoulder to cry on, they are especially prone to believing you’re dodging their calls…

Luckily, my sisters, brothers, CRH, Mom, Dad, and a few others who know me really well, don’t take offense when a text message may take days to be returned, and a phone call sometimes over a week. They know that my phone phobia is not personal. They know that as much as I love everyone, I have a daily threshold of electronic chatter I don’t force myself to cross.

But I digress.

Rewind to four weeks ago when Doug announced that we were all assigned a “buddy” for the duration of the Power-90 program. I was gripped with horror. How could I possibly manage ANOTHER demand on my phone time? And then. And then. And then, I ended up in a group of three! Yikes! The only thing that kept me from refusing entirely was that I love the women I was put with.

A buddy call is a phone call that happens five days a week. It is an opportunity to re-state your goals and be accountable for the baby steps you’ve committed to for that week or even that day. Some last 30 minutes, others much longer.

I know that once I’m on the call, I love it. I seriously love my buddies. But, I have been through every emotion about this. I went through denial (lost my phone for a couple days); bargaining (maybe I can just text them every day); anger (why am I being bullied?); and now acceptance (how did I get so lucky?).

I have turned out to be the biggest offender of over-chatting in our gang. I get so much of a lift from my ladies and partners in positive power. Which brings us back to this morning. I was stuck in the space of what I call, “the feeling of impending doom,” about purging my possessions. Then one of my buddies reminded me that I am JUST tagging and bagging stuff for a yard sale. She reminded me that I would have another chance to veto selling some shit. This completely took the pressure off of my day and I was able to accomplish my goal and a little bit more.

So here’s a shout out to my buddies: Karen and Sheri, I love you both and feel so blessed to be on this journey with you. Thank you for being patient with me and not having our calls at dawn when I can’t speak, but only write. You’re unconditional acceptance of me and the strength of purpose you demonstrate daily is a gift. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


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