Pants 1, Sean 0.


The other night, as I was giving my three-year-old his bath, my cell phone rang. I checked the number: it was uber-agent Janet Reid. Always happy to get an unexpected call from someone who might tell me my writing is going to sell, I ignored the three-year-old splashing water at me and answered the phone.
“Sean? It’s Janet.”
“Hi, how are you?”
“Good. Um, you may want to check your home phone, because your son just called me on my other line.”
I stood in the bathroom, looked down at my son as he drank a gallon of soapy water.
“Yes.” She laughed. “I saw your name, but when I picked up all I could hear was his delightful squealing.”
I continued to look down at my son. He threw bubbles at the wall and then dumped water on my foot.
“When was this?” I asked.
“About two seconds ago.”
Now I was really confused. My home phone had called her? And my son was on the other line? My parents were visiting, and either of them might have called Janet by mistake thinking the phone was the television remote, but neither of them is what I would call a “delightful squealer.” How had my son, sliding himself in circles around the tub, called Janet on the home phone?
The answer was obvious: Janet is insane.
“Oh, okay, ha ha. Thanks, Janet. Sorry about that.”
“No problem. He’s adorable. Talk to you soon.”
We hung up. I knelt on the floor and wondered what to do about the fact that an insane woman represents my writing. My writing is insane enough without having to worry about it and my advocate both being certifiable. My son watched bubbles rise from his lips. A result of the soapy water, no doubt.
I still held my phone in my hand. I realized its keypad wasn’t locked. I stopped myself from turning it off, and checked the outgoing call history instead. The last call was…
Five minutes ago. To Janet Reid.
The keypad unlocked, the phone in my pocket, pressed against keys and change, buttons pressed at random, and it had called Janet. What she had heard was my son in the tub. His delightful squeals had been about drinking soap, belching bubbles, dousing my foot. My phone, in my pants pocket, had called my agent.
The dream for a pantsless society lives on.

21 thoughts on “Pants 1, Sean 0.

  1. LOL!!!
    My neighbor’s baby calls me at least once a week (we’re on their speed dial) She always has a lot to say about something or another. I stay on the line just to hear the excitement in her voice, or until someone else comes along to hang up for her. I can’t manage to hang up on the kid myself. But have never gotten a call back from Mom or Dad, doubt they even know we are phone buddies.
    PS If the pants/butt dialing keeps up, you might want to try the man purse, might be slightly more attractive than sans-pants–just a thought…

  2. So funny. My teenage son calls me like this all the time from school. I keep thinking I’ll really hear something but it’s always just the teacher talking.

  3. That’s really funny because last week I called my sister from my purse—while I was sitting across from her at the restaurant.
    Her: “Why are you calling me?”
    Me: “What? I’m not.”
    And then I realized. Duh.

  4. My brother’s phone once called me from his workplace. He works in a laboratory, so all I could hear were vrooom-vrooom and beep-beep noises of whirring and honking machinery. After the usual, “Hello? Hello?” I put the the phone on speaker so my husband could hear it.
    “Skynet has taken over and they started by taking out your brother,” he told me.
    It sounded quite plausible. It turns out, however, that Skynet had taken over and was just making prank calls, then sniggering mechanically in the background.

  5. Back in the nineties when conversations between landlines and cell phones didn’t end unless the cell phone ended the call, my father used to call my mother several times a day without realizing it. He’d leave his phone in his pocket where change and keys would press up against the keys in the perfect combination. The home phone would ring and my mother would eye it irritably, pick it up and listen for two seconds, then scream “JOE! JOE! HELLO! PICK UP THE PHONE!” He usually didn’t hear. She alternated between spending five minutes screaming into the phone, and just hanging up. When he got home, he’d get an earful about how she hadn’t been able to call anyone for *hours* because the phone had been engaged with his car rides and meetings.
    Thankfully, nowadays phone calls end when either line hangs up, so this isn’t as much of a problem. And hearing a child delightfully squealing is much better than, say, listening to someone use the restroom, as I recently saw on Twitter.

  6. My geriatric neighbour used to call me from his pants all the time. I was Speed Dial #2. I had to drop what I was doing, go next door, knock on his door and tell him to check his pants. Often.

  7. My husband Steve’s pants used to call me all the time, on the average of once a day. That got old fast. But then, when we were on vacation, the pants called his office. While Steve and our daughter were just getting settled down on a roller coaster. Apparently the message was something like, “Are you ready? I’m ready. Here we go. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” By the time we got back from vacation, the message had been played to every single person in his office.

  8. This is a great story, so funny! Now I have to go read more of your writing. I wandered over from the madness that is Janet Reid’s blog and I’m glad I did!
    Coincidentally, I was just writing about bathwater drinkers the other day. Obviously it’s a cultural epidemic. Mine finally outgrew it at around 4 after me routinely calling it “dirty bottom water” until he finally realized what I meant. I don’t think boys really care. It’s in the operation manual.

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