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Ah, the telephone. Such a marvelous invention. You can use it to call people who are not close by and talk to them. It was a boon to those who had trouble saying things to a person's face and easy to use to call anyone and pretend you were someone else. The telephone was a fun device, and became more so as they began to invent additional features for it. They invented the speed dial and the telephone with a memory built in so you would only have to push one button to call a friend or loved one. They also invented something they referred to as caller ID. It allowed you to know who was calling you, which was helpful in rooting out those vagrants who made obnoxious and annoying phone calls in the name of self-gratification.

You thought she was pretty special
So you put her telephone number in memory
That way you only had to hit the button with her name on it to call her

Seemed like a good idea at the time. Here you were, working for a major university handling the booking of auditoriums and rooms for special events and meetings of university clubs. That was how you met her. She was the coach of the women's soccer team. Four years earlier she had been a national first team All-American at the University of Massachusetts. She played on the United States women's soccer team. Only a couple of weeks before you met her, you had booked the school's main auditorium for a speech from Abbie Hoffman and had the opportunity to meet him beforehand. You were on cloud nine, seeing this job as the perfect employment niche. It allowed you to meet all kinds of people.

She had called you to reserve a conference room for her soccer team. She was bringing in some special guests and wanted to meet somewhere other than the gym or the soccer field. There were several rooms available and you offered to take her to check them out. During the tour you developed an affection for her and then tried to impress her by reserving rooms at the university just to have lunch with her. She took an interest in things you were doing. You were trying to get your own little magazine off the ground. She dabbled in writing and wanted your help in improving her skills in that area. You began to talk on the telephone regularly and sometimes you would talk for hours about your lives, your dreams and your hopes for the future. She told you how she became the youngest head coach in the university's history but confessed she was still waiting for her invitation back to the U.S. National Team. It was developing into something potentially serious. You really connected with this woman. Everything about her made you want to sing. You didn't want to rush anything and you didn't want to make any sudden or possibly bad moves. You can still remember how you sang along to Born To Be Wild together in the car before such things became a movie cliche.

Then you had a party.

You were twenty-two years old and it was far from out of character for you to take advantage of situations. Some of your friends were in town. They had been away at college and were back for the weekend. You decided to throw a little party at your apartment. The booze was flowing pretty well and everyone was having a good time. Some people were more drunk than others. While you were entertaining old friends in the kitchen, another old friend had wandered off into your bedroom. He sat down at your desk and made a phone call. He called his former girlfriend and tried to demand a drunken reconciliation. When that didn't work, he got angry. He stared at the telephone and the names you had written next to the telephone numbers you had in memory. He noticed one of the names was "Stacey." That was his ex-girlfriend's name and in his drunken stupor he decided that the reason she didn't want to get back together with him was because she was seeing you. He picked up the telephone and hit the button next to her name. An answering machine picked up.

"This is Stacey, I'm not able to take your call right now.
Please leave a message after the tone."

It is usually not a good idea to have stupid friends, but sometimes you have no control over that. You also need to wonder about whether letting drunken stupid friends near your things, especially your telephone, is a good idea. When the woman you had marvelous butterflies in your stomach over got home that night she had twelve angry and hateful drunken messages on her answering machine. You were never sure what they said, but later that evening your friend confessed after verbally attacking you for dating his ex-girlfriend. When you figured out what he had done, it was too late. There was no way to explain. Your dream girl was no more. She would not return your calls or accept your attempts at an explanation. She had caller ID. "I have stupid drunken friends" was a pretty poor excuse for what happened that night.

I've never gotten along all that well with the telephone.

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