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Anyone with a teenage girl can relate to this story.


Just who is the queen of my answering machine?

By Sandy Hershelman


"This is my answering machine," I muttered under my breath, as I listened to yet another series of messages to my daughter from her 12-year-old friend.
"Hi, Heidi, this is Whiney Voice. It's 2:45. Call me."
"Heidi, this is Whiney Voice again. It's 2:58 and you haven't called me yet."
"Hi, Heidi. It's 3:12. . ."

Get the picture? And it wasn't just one of Heidi's buddies who left message after message. A number of them did. Sometimes there were long, drawn-out apologies or explanations destined to entertain me.
One girl always mumbled so fast, you could never tell what she said.

These days the boys are beginning to call. Some still sound like girls, while others have voices way too deep to be calling my daughter!
Do the kids actually think Heidi is the Queen of the Answering Machine?
Not about to give up my throne, I retaliated, "Hi. Please leave a message after the beep. And to all of Heidi's little friends, please leave only one message per day." "Mom," Heidi confronted me later that week. "Some of my friends are offended. You called them ‘little friends'."
"You'd prefer enormous comrades?" I offered.
"Mom. . ." she groaned.
Okay, so I edited it a bit.

My favorite outgoing message was the one I recorded last July 30, "Hi . . . Heidi will be out of town until the end of August, so please don't leave any messages for her until then."
Of course, I missed her while she was gone, but phone-wise it was a wonderful month. Some days I'd even come home to no new messages!

Realizing Heidi's return from Grandma's would signal a barrage of calls, I bought myself a present — an answering machine with three voice boxes.
"Hi. Please leave a message for us after the beep. Heidi's friends can press star two to leave a message for her. Ryan's friends, star three."

Even during the first few days, I was pretty pleased with myself. Few kids knew Heidi was back, so I had a day or so reprieve before the deluge began. On her fourth day back, Heidi was gone and I was atop the house helping the guys re-roof. No way was I going to answer the phone, which rang and rang — it seemed like a bazillion times.

By the end of the day, both Heidi's and my "mailboxes" were blinking — 20 messages were waiting!
When Her Heidiness had finished answering her subjects' calls, I finally had a chance to check my messages — two of them to be precise — and they were both from Heidi!

The new answering machine has been a godsend, I know. But, I have a feeling the issue of just who is the Queen of the Phone will rear its ugly head again and again as we travel through Heidi's teen years.
Even as I'm writing this, dog-tired after two days of playing "Cat on the Hot Non-Tin Roof", Heidi came into my room — with her phone on her ear, of course.
"I thought you were going to bed," she said. "You said you were exhausted." "Yeah, but I'm inspired," I told her.
"Hold on," she told her phone buddy, and then stared at me. "You're what?" "Inspired," I flashed her an I'm-up-to-something grin, which she recognized.
"Oh, no. You're writing about us again," Heidi groaned. She kept talking to herself as she left the room, "Why don't you just go to bed? I'm gonna sue you. I know where you live. I even know where you sleep. . ."

Two minutes later, phone still glued to her ear, Heidi poked her head into the room, "Lynessa said you'd better put in there that I'm talking to her."
"I called her your phone buddy."
"You're weird," my daughter decided.
"Yeah, but I love you," I countered.
"I love you, too, Mom."


Four years later: Heidi's now almost 16. . .and she has her own phone line.

Date Last Modified:9/25/19
Copyright © 2001-2003 Sandy Hershelman. All rights reserved.