Unplugged / by Dana Bergstrom

I love to unplug. I'm easily distracted so when I want to stay focused or (more importantly) take a nap, I unplug my stuff. And I often forget to plug the home phone back in.

This annoys the crap outta Pauly. After I announce that I've accidentally left the home phone unplugged for an entire day, he loudly rants and raves about how we're going to miss something important. But that's only because several years ago, I did.

Pauly was driving our trusty 1992 Toyota Corolla on the outskirts of town, looking for a cute little rundown farm for us to rehab, when the car suddenly caught on fire. Out of nowhere it started smoking and flames began shooting out of the engine. Pauly pulled over knowing instinctively that our rusty, old sedan had given us many years of faithful service and it was finally throwing in the towel or more accurately, throwing a rod, a super exciting and dramatic way for a vehicle to go.

So Pauly sat on the side of the road for a while before a man in a pickup came and offered to help. Since he didn't have a phone, he used the guy's cell to call me. But I didn't answer. I was taking a nap. And so Mr. Nice Pickup Dude gave him a ride home. When Pauly walked in the front door, I was lounging sleepily on the couch. Oh man. He was NOT pleased.

This unpleasant memory of frightening engine fireballs and a lazy, uncommunicative wife has been permanently burnt into Pauly's stranded-by-the-wayside brain. And so he always gets riled up and goes on a mini-hollering spree whenever I forget to plug the home phone back in. That's why I think this voicemail from Pauly, left in his soft, gentle voice just the other day when I forgot to plug in again, is one of the loveliest messages I've ever received.

"Hello, Dana, this is your husband, Paul. It is 9:07, soon to be 9:08. I am on my way home. Ummm. Plug your phone in and, uh, open up to the love that the world has to offer you. Talk to you later. Bye."

Ahhh. Big big smile. First of all, how many husbands does he think I have that he has to identify himself like that? I guess the cat's out of the bag about my secret polygamy. Secondly and best of all, what a sweet way to encourage me to plug in! Oh, I'm just crazy about this positively optimistic man and his sultry smooth talk about electronics and a big ol' world full of telemarketers, robocalls and people on phones who can't wait to shower me with LOVE! I'll stay plugged in for sure. Until, of course, it is time for my nap.