How To Make Friends By Telephone

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The length of King William’s arm (measured, slightly off) describes the order of method here, abnegating willpower and roses of course, to keep the Woolite-soaked rummage at a pointed distance. Other allocated factors (abounding here or there, or not at all anywhere, too) have their say in it. But we are rumination’s cousins at best, the pieced apart luck of quietly battling these firm yet flexible-to-the-point-of-frangibility structures is humbling, and we know it, and so should the rest of you.

Now, in the sight that’s not hind nor fore, there are tactics better used by a braver sort; that is not our concern. We have clingers who retrieve nothing in hasty gropes. We already do. And so we don’t need bushels or bindles of fog to come clumping in to meet us at the harbor’s edge. And so we do need to feel terrific and terrible. And so we do.

You see, a seepage problem arose. There were circles to be drawn around the bags under peeled eyes. Piled low were the remainders. Immense portions of proportional dissonance (cognitive or otherwise structured) got spilled to the guests. Campy rewrites of classic literature came to dominate the playing field, with and without pencil illustrations. Watching and looking were confused, and people labeled their thoughts ‘litter’ or ‘trash’ until their heads were empty enough to think. A skunkbush sumac died when the gas was left on. Companions were all lost; and all we were left with was the buzz and drone of drowsy airplane noise.

Just like the curmudgeonly way one might utter, “If it pleases the court,” into the receiver of an unplugged phone, nothing’s proceeding except processing fees and shipping & handling charges. Only you can count others out. The “in” doesn’t matter if it doesn’t worry you enough. Even with that there not being said, it purchases its own calling to cradle and bemoan. Stay riled.

Enjoy yourself.

Now, people will say things for you if you give them the right opportunities for it. That’s the easiest stride to take. You don’t have to make your muttering count, but if you do it could hinder a tad less the motivation for a listener to be surcharged with avuncular gratitude, or the chivalrous attitude to match it, at least, or at last.

So, speak clearly if not placidly. Be pleasant. Consider diatribes off limits. Never hector. Match the speaker’s tone, if possible, or use a portable restraint to imitate the effect of Muzak on the nerves. Remember, communicating is breathing too. Between words or stumbling thoughts, give in, or at most give the impression of words being things one could be hung from but not on. Seek solace in each breath. In. Out. Mechanically. Soundly. Do not cough or burp. Never give the impression that you are sweating. Weigh your options of heavy versus light. The difference could be monumental.

Say into the transmitter, “The evening wore on.” But remember, even crystal can seem cloudy to some. So, say it again, this time with a bit more, let’s just say, passion. Hold the handset closer, until the curve of the smooth molded plastic brushes your cheek. Think of the apparatus as part of your hand — or, better yet, think of it as your hand. Be not a rambler. Get to the point. Be confident. Gain the upper hand. Repeat.

Tell something like this: “There are mood modulators in the keypad. A gift of connection in the soothing static. Silver satin runs translucent and gray between gasps and sighs.” Remember, when you hang up you are actually breaking an electrical circuit that connected you to the person at the other end while you were talking. A chemical balance hangs in the balance of your hasty pressing down on the switch hook. Be sure and careful in the ending of things. Take it lightly and own what that means to you, which is a stronger bond than you really should ever attempt to imagine.

To be liked. To be liked. This is importance’s utmost challenge. It is the impossible made to look common, easy, never out of anybody’s questioning. Breathe coolly, like somebody’s who’s done this so many times before that it is only muscle memory now, and effort is not something you’d deign to waste, ever, for anybody, on any of this. Chat. Snicker. Be engaged. Seem lofty and aloof. Being worth it (somebody else’s time, that is) is of all the essences around. Oh, and be cheerful too; it makes the going easier.

If prompted, please press the pound sign sharply, as it was meant to be pressed, that special crunch and click of the square button, as if denoting a numeral or amount. Think, ‘Just like the old days,’ as you proceed. Wear an air of nostalgia and honor in the face of newfangled adjustments to the armor of your days. You are still important. You deserve to be here, just like anything else does. Be not distracted by imitations of life.

The wires are sizzling with all the nothings between your ears. Firm pressure should be applied to all ego wounds by either a group of peers or hired assassins. Grip the receiver loosely. Hang on. Be as patient as possible before the raining of blows becomes habitual.

Nervousness and jittery spells come and go. Keep speaking at a steady pace.

Now. Say this: “Talk of the past, around town, for me, while the piano’s lost its legs, and the hardly aware are knocking on lampposts for luck. Out of that past we’ll creep, unfairly caught like colds or foul balls, and in the chimney’s crooked shadow we’ll lie and soak our nightmares in bourbon and bacon grease. I don’t have relationships; I have affairs. This? This must not be love, at all. Not at all.”

See? Now you’ve made a new friend. Isn’t that nice?

Well, isn’t it?

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