Tuesday, December 15, 2009


30 years ago my mother would call me every week on Sunday nights and we would talk for an hour on the phone. America to Japan and that was quite an expense! But it was always hard to end those phone calls what with all the news of my new Japanese life and then marriage and then children. My mother kept me up on neighborhood news and her doings at school.

After awhile we decided that we were being too extravagant and cut our weekly phone calls down to twice a month and that is where it has stayed for nearly 20 years or more. And we could always talk an hour! In the past 10 years though, Mom retired from teaching and from volunteer work, my kids went off to America and when we call, there is less and less to talk about. I'd ring Mom and say

"Hi! What's new?"

"Hmm... Can't think of anything."

"How is the family? How are the neighbors?"

"Fine, fine. Nothing new."

I'd resort to asking her what book she was reading and that was about it. She'd ask me about cats. What do they do? Sleep. Conversations lasted 10 minutes! (Or longer because sometime we repeat the first 10 minutes of conversation.)

When I'd hang up I'd think,

"Mom sure is forgetful these days. She can never think of anything that has gone on for two whole weeks. Must be old age."

Yesterday I called my brother's house to ask what the kids wanted for Christmas. My nephew answered.

"Hi Colin! How are you? What's new?"


Next my brother got on the phone.

"Hi Keion! Just calling about Christmas. What's new with you people?"


And in the distance I hear Marcy's brother call out his hellos to me too.

"Oh, Mark's there too! What's new with Mark?"

My brother relayed my question to Mark and the answer was


So the conversation ended in less than 10 minutes because Marcy wasn't at home. I called my mother instead.

"Hi! This is Tani. How are you? What's new?"

"Oh, fine, fine. Nothing new."

Another 10 minute conversation about books and cats.

Maybe I need to rephrase my question. I guess I've been questioning Mom's memory whereas in truth, there is NOTHING going on with my family!

I don't know why we are all so busy with NOTHING getting done.

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. -- Calvin and Hobbes

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