The telephone rang and I answered it. I listened to the caller then shouted down the hall to my Darling Wife's sewing room, "It's for you."
"Not now. Take a message." I took a message.
When I went down the hall to hand her the slip of paper on which I had carefully written the message, she took the paper, chewed it up, spit it out, and used it for a pin cushion. Then, she said, "I'm getting rid of the telephone."
"Why?" I asked. We were already unlisted, and we turned the telephone off between eight at night a six in the morning. And when the answering machine picked up, it was as noticeable as clear monofilament stitching in the ditch between two quilt squares. No telephone in our house buzzed or rang or chimed during those hours. Our family and friends knew that. The rest of the world could wait.
"It's interfering with my quilting," she said.
"You never take the calls anyway when you're quilting," I said. "So how does it interfere?"
"The ringing interrupts me."
"The phone's a mile away," I said. "I answer it and only bring you important messages."
"Quilters should never be interrupted."
She meant it. During the past year that she has been quilting fanatically, she has come to hate, abhor, and even loathe interruptions. From what we hear from quilters worldwide and what we read on the Internet, an interruption during quilting is probably the reason for cold sores and hang nails.
And there have been interruptions.
"Do you want to stop cutting that fabric and talk to these twelve people from the 'Save the Titanic Committee'? I asked her one day. They were standing knee deep in a rain puddle by the front door, sinking slowly. "They want to prevent the Titanic from sinking again."
"Do you want to stop sewing the Log Cabin block to talk to the man from the 'Pipe Down Company'? He says we should bore out the centers of all our house pipes to keep them free from space aliens."
"Do you want to stop measuring the repeats on your Stack-n-Whack fabric to see a demonstration by the man from 'Moth Balls R Us'? He says moths will eat your wool batting up into itsy-bitsy pieces. He brought some large moths to show you."
"Do you want to stop basting the binding on the lap quilt to hear a free lecture on a hundred and one things you can do with corks."
"I can think of a couple to do right now," she said. I took that as another "No."
"Do you want to stop changing the blade on your rotary cutter so you can hear about the benefits of "Susie's Snail Snacks" which are guaranteed to explode the insides out of all your garden snails?"
'"I'm going to explode if the doorbell rings again," she said.
I took out the doorbell. I put a billboard in front of our house, "Solicitors Will Be Hanged." I dug a moat around the house and filled it with water and alligators wrapped in plastic covered moat quilts (the water was very cold). I set up an electrified fence which zapped anything coming to our house except deliveries of fabric, catalogs, or quilting notions.
Still, some interruptions continued.
"Do you want to stop piecing the crib quilt until the earthquake is over?" I asked.
"How about stopping until the floodwaters in the living room recede?"
"Do you want to stop quilting until the fire in the kitchen is put out?"
"You're interrupting," she began. I didn't have to wait to hear her finish. Instead I retreated and told the representative from the Publishers Sweepstakes that she could not be disturbed, not even for the ten million dollar check he implied he had for us. He made a fuss, talked about all those television cameras outside, how hard it was to get over the moat and past the fence, but when I pushed the button to activate the catapult under the "No, You're Not Welcome" doormat, he left quickly.
"She doesn't want to be disturbed when she's quilting," I shouted up after him, but I don't know if he heard me. If he ever comes back, I'll tell him again what I tell everyone. "Sorry, she's quilting." I'm sure he'll understand. You understand, don't you?
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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