“He called me difficult to please, can you believe that?” Nina keeps shouting through the phone. “All I want is for him to be responsible for his sons. Does that sound difficult to you? It’s not like he has to be at work at a particular time. He works from home for God’s sake!”
Nina is in rare form tonight. She has been talking non stop for over an hour. She just got into a big fight with her soon to be ex about who is going to pick up their twins from daycare now that she’s going to start working full time.
I’m just letting her talk. It’s not like she really wants my opinion anyway; “Stop talking and just let me vent” is what she always says, and today is no exception. Nina loves to call me to vent. She says I am a good listener. And I am. I’m also not above playing a video game with the volume turned off while she vents; these zombies aren’t going to shoot themselves. The secret is to at least know the gist of what the problem is and remember to sound outraged at the appropriate times.
“What an asshole!” I say as I fire my cannon at zombie nurses, mowing them down like particularly busty bowling pins.
“He’s a bastard.” And so is this undead mailman who just won’t die. Never mind, he’s dead now.
“He’s an idiot” and a grenade explodes down the corridor, opening up an exit for me to escape. Now I’m in the cellar and it looks like I have a puzzle to solve. It takes me a few minutes and I have no idea what she is talking about now. The puzzle part of the games always forces me to make a decision about who gets my full attention. The game always wins. No problem, I have it under control. “What are you going to do?” that one is always a good one to throw out when you have completely lost the thread of what’s going on. I don’t know if she doesn’t notice or just doesn’t care, but there she goes launching on another monologue.
Oh, I get it now. She’s mad because she wants him to drop off the kids when she gets home from work, but she doesn’t want him to come into the house so they’re exchanging the children at the McDonalds parking lot like some sort of hostage negotiation. That’s really stupid. I’ve always thought Rob was an idiot, but I’m going to have to give this one to him. So I tell her. I tell her that’s a stupid idea. It’s inconvenient to everybody and that she shouldn’t be so openly hostile to her kid’s father right in front of them anyway. Excuse me, did she just yell at me? She is! She’s yelling at me. What the hell? I have to listen to her rant and rave for months and I’m not allowed to give her my opinion?
“Wait a minute,” I tell her. “I’m only telling you this because I’m your friend and I don’t think it’s healthy for the kids to be caught in the middle of a feud.” Silence. Did she just hang up on me? One of the things that suck about cell phones is that you can’t slam them, so I have no idea at which point she hung up on me. I think I’m offended. Here I was paying attention to her for once and now I’m the bad guy? It’s kind of ironic.
I’m not calling her back. I’ll sure she’ll call me back eventually. In a few days she will call me to complain about him some more. Or maybe she won’t. Maybe in a few days I’ll care. But for right now I’m going to kill some zombies with the volume turned up. Way up.
Aralis Bloise hails from Miami, Florida where she avoids the sun at all costs by staying at home writing short stories and screenplays.