Phone Calls and Cattle Guards

Phone Calls and Cattle Guards

Phone Calls and Cattle Guards

You should know that my family comes from a long line of people who worked for the phone company. You would think that we all had phones growing out of our hands after all the years we put in. But! Yes a phone ringing “but.” But you would be wrong. For some reason most of us have an aversion to the phone after years of installing, fixing and answering phones. 

Today I have a list of calls I really want to make. I want to call editors and sell myself and my words to them. But I just sit and look at my phone. Oh I’ll buck up and make the calls. As soon as I start to chitty chat my nerves calm down and I don’t even think of the aversion. But hitting those numbers on the dial pad and waiting for someone to answer. All things considered, maybe having my heart in my throat is where it actually should live. Not.

It’s not just me and my phone. I have a friend who cannot decide where to eat when confronted with more than two choices. I never realized that might be some sort of aversion, like me and my phone until I tried to force the issue and actually felt something like fear of making that decision. Like I am with the phone. Apparently there are many of us who have something we just shiver at doing.

What if a farmer fell into that quagmire? Knowing a field must be planted but after planting for years and years for some silly reason now he is not able to decide what to plant. Or a cashier at a grocery store. Say she just freezes because she has scanned so much stuff over time that now she is not quite able to decide to pick up the sack of tomatoes next or the jar of marinara sauce. So she just stands there. See that’s the phone dilemma I seem to be facing. It’s an imaginary thing for sure. But still.

Maybe it was the scary movie I watched where a guy was on the phone and a hand came out of the mouthpiece. Very creepy. Who makes up that stuff? I know it can’t happen.  I mean it’s a tiny hole where the mouthpiece is. If a hand came out it would be a tiny hand. I think I could take on a tiny hand. Still, creepy.

Not sure where these phobias come from. We all have a few. Getting over them is a daily uphill climb. Just on the edge of my property, where the dirt road meets the oil I walk out to mail my letters. I use my neighbor’s mail box because I am too lazy to change my address from a post office box in town to the rural route where I live. I mean just think of all that has to be done to change your address. It’s almost too much to even think about. But I have slipped off the mail route.

To get to that mailbox I have to cross a cattle guard. Walk across it. I have done this for more years than I care to discuss. Just bebop over the shiny metal cross members and not think a thing about it. Until the other day. For some silly reason I got up to the edge and froze. Now I know what a cow feels like when she comes up to a cattle guard. I can tell you from my new experience that cattle guards work just fine thank you very much. It took mind over matter but I crossed that silly thing. Then turned around and had to do it again. Oh I thought about taking wire cutters out there and cutting the fence. I thought about crawling through the barbed wire. I thought about several ways around what I saw were now metal teeth just ready to grab me by the foot and there I would stand. Stuck in the cattle guard. How embarrassing would that be?

Sitting here I was thinking about phobias. All the things those imaginary mind games are attempting to keep me from living the carefree life I have come to enjoy. I am embarrassed and even a little ticked off at myself. I’ve decided that I’m going to pick up my phone and dive right in. Make the calls I need to make.

Of course I will have some sort of weapon near to take on the tiny hand if it dares to come out of my phone. Maybe a tiny glove. I’ll see to it that the tiny hand will be found at the bottom of the cattle guard.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book, “They Call Me Weener” is available on or e-mail her at to get a signed copy.