I was wondering, as we meandered through another evening's dinner discussion, "When would be a good time to teach our son to hang up on telephone solicitors?" We have raised, to our own credit and his, a very polite and inquisitive boy. He is very courteous and meets strangers with the same forthright attention and concern that he gives to his intimates. This is a blessing and a curse.
This evening, he "confessed" to us that he had hung up on "some guy doing a survey." The fact that he is aided by the technology known as caller ID made this all the easier to swallow. I have brushed off the temptation to go back and check to see from whence the call originated, since he took the call, he is more than capable of deciding its termination.
Truth is, it has only been in the last year or so that he has felt comfortable answering the phone at all. Many was the time that my wife and I were up to our elbows in some household project, or simply sitting in a spot across the house from a telephone and his world would allow a phone to ring six to eight times right next to his head without it making the slightest effect. Oh, sometimes we were alerted that "the phone is ringing", but it never occurred to him that his opposable thumbs allowed him the chance to be part of the telecommunication process.
These days, however, he has become much more familiar with answering and maintaining phone calls. This is no doubt in preparation for his stay in the teenage years, and it is eerie to watch him saunter about the house with our cordless phone, carrying on conversations about video games and all manner of important pre-teen discourse. He has the good sense to ask us before he dials long distance. I am also grateful that we live in an age when accepting collect calls is no longer a regular inconvenience. I'm sure that he would accept those charges, because he is, after all, a good boy.