As the middle of October rolls around, university and college students everywhere are overindulging on saturated fats and refined sugars, crying in public places and neglecting to wash their hair.
I’m not the only one… Right?
Yesterday, I had my first tearful breakdown of the semester. Only six weeks into Creative Communications, I had to schedule my first interview for my journalism class. I sat at my dining room table and wrote down a guideline of what I would say to the poor, unsuspecting stranger on the other line.
Yes, I scripted my phone call.
I cleared my throat, remembering that due to lack of sleep and stress, I had caught a cold, and my voice sounded frighteningly similar to Jack Nicholson’s.
My thumb hovered over the green button a few moments too long before I pressed it and perched the phone on my ear, waiting for the call to go through.
“Yeah,” answered the man’s voice.
His voice was like a starting pistol, signalling my mouth to start running. I raced through my spiel, not even breaking to ask him if he was following. I finished and waited through a few excruciating seconds of silence. I wondered if he had hung up. He hadn’t.
Surprisingly, my interviewee’s first question to me wasn’t,
“When did you start at Red River College, Mr. Nicholson?”
But instead something along the lines of,
“I have better things to do. Don’t call me on my cell.”
“Ok yes, thank you very much, sorry for that, thank you,” I stammered before I hung up the phone, the insincere smile petrified on my face. I stared at the rectangular technology in my hand. I had five days to find someone new for my story. Five days to start fresh and perfect my assignment. My head hit the table and I was sobbing before there were even tears.
Then, my phone, still clutched in my pathetic hand, rang again.
It was a FaceTime from an unknown number. I wiped my snivelling face and tried to appear mentally stable. I slid my thumb across the screen, expecting to find my interviewee’s angry mug, calling to give me a piece of his mind face-to-face. I braced myself.
Instead, I saw M’s two crooked front teeth in a wide smile between two chubby cheeks. He was laughing as he FaceTimed me from the swing set at his school playground.
“Becca! I got a new book! It’s Geronimo Stilton and he so chef in this hat, see? Are you in your house?”
Suddenly, I was crying from laughter. I wasn’t able to see M this week. Between schoolwork and Thanksgiving celebrations, there just wasn’t time. But this eight-year-old boy found a way to contact me and tell me what was going on in his life–even if just briefly–and it was exactly what I needed.
“That is SO cool,” I gushed, forgetting all about my humiliating phone call. “Did you read any of it yet?”
“Yeah, Becca, I read this one has hat, and chef Geronimo is so cool!”
We chatted on FaceTime as he played outside. M made funny faces and cracked jokes about farts. He took the phone and threw it in the grass, laughing at the thought of physically throwing me down. Right about then, the daycare supervisor came around and said maybe it was time he give her her iPhone back, which was probably fair.
“Ok bye, Becca. You so stinky,” he laughed.
In honour of Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful that I got the opportunity to know M. We are both in crucial learning stages in our lives and the responsibility of being there for him these past few years has forced me to grow up in so many ways. On the other side, I’m so lucky to have a funny little man in my life to tell me a good fart joke just when smiling starts to feel impossible.