My pocket began to vibrate.
It was an incoming call on the mobile/cell phone. The time of day told me who it was without checking the screen.
“Hi Elly!” I said putting the instrument to my ear.
“Where are you?” she asked before adding “I tried the land-line and got no answer”.
If you wait long enough in life the answers come….
Several months earlier Elly had suggested that it would be a good idea for me to have a mobile phone. Her reasoning was that I travelled about alone in my car, and should I have a breakdown or puncture in the wilds of nowhere, a phone would allow me to call for help. I went along with the idea while wondering if that was a cover or the real reason behind the suggestion. Now I had my answer…
“I’m not at home at the moment” I said into the mouth piece, while mouthing the word Elly to my companion. He smiled, nodded and remained silent.
“So where are you?” Elly persisted.
“Right now, I am in Room six hundred and twenty whatever of the Europa Hotel in Belfast” I replied casually.
“O-kay! After a pause she asked again “What are you doing there?” This time it was a timid question.
“Well since you asked” I began, “I am watching a man put his trousers on!”
There was silence from the other end of the phone. The man looked up at me and smiled a wicked smile.
“Are you still there?” I asked.
“Yes!” she began timidly, “Who is he?” I was enjoying this!
“He is a very nice gentleman and he would like to speak to you”, I said before adding “Hold on while I give him the phone!”
Taking the phone the gentleman said “Hello Elly!” Suddenly rather shocked, he looked at the phone and then to me he said “She hung up!”
“Nah!” I said. “She has gone into a tunnel, she will phone again in a couple of minutes”.
Elly was at that time working in Glasgow. Her homeward journey was by train and being confined to a small space for thirty minutes, she used it to call me. There were two tunnels on the journey so I was quite used to the interruptions. We were both on the same network so our calls were free. She would call me and talk for up to 50 minutes and if needed I called her back for another 50 minutes.
The phone began to buzz once more…
“Hello!” I said again.
“W-H-O was that? she asked again.
It was time to come clean, I had my fun….
“Did you not recognise him?” I asked.
“No!” she said.
“It is your Uncle D!” I admitted.
My brother had arrived with a group of colleagues for a three day conference. When the first days meetings finished early he phoned me so I drove into Belfast to see him. He had a couple of hours clear before going to a pre planned dinner engagement for the group. We met in the bar for a drink and when the time came to wash and change for the evening he invited me up to the room. While he showered, I sat on the bed and had a coffee. Come on, give me a break, I grew up in a house with four brothers and was quite used to seeing them half dressed.
My brother got some mileage out of the evening too. I said we met in the bar of the hotel. He was sitting with his colleagues when I arrived and I walked straight to him. He stood and kissed me. I saw his colleagues give that knowing smile. He introduced me without saying I was family. They seemed surprised that I knew so much about him. When he invited me to the room the teasing really took off. We played to the gallery and enjoyed it. Later that evening he explained to them who I was. I went to meet him again on the second evening and when I arrived I was greeted with a chorus of “Hello Sister”
That episode was a great learning curve for Elly. It taught her that mammy might actually think of meeting a man for a drink or dinner. Nowadays when I say something outrageous there is always a small chance that I might be telling the truth.
Well…. I have to have some fun!