New Thing #348: Getting Things Done With A Phone Call

BrushWhat you're looking at there is my bucket of brush. I mentioned a few weeks ago that there are certain dedicated weeks in Framingham for leaf pickup, and this week was the week designated for brush pickup.

There were a lot of sticks laying around and I had done a lot of yard work this summer where some of the stuff I cleared had nowhere to go.

So I gathered it up, put it in the barrel labeled 'Brush', like the directions say (I'm a rule-follower), and left it with my trash and recycling on my trash day.

Problem is, trash day was Monday.

And the brush was still sitting there on Friday.

So I made a phone call.

Now, you have to understand: I hate to use the phone.

The joke at my house growing up was that I didn't even like calling to order a pizza. (It wasn't a joke. I've maybe done it ten times in my life.)

I can't explain exactly why I hate using the phone. I think the best reason I can give is that I am deathly afraid I am interrupting someone from something important on the other end. (If you are more than six months pregnant, I will never call you until after the baby is born. I am convinced the phone ringing will cause you to go into labor.)

Once I am comfortable enough with you, I'm fine with the phone. I won't hesitate to call my mom and dad. I wore out my wife's phone when we were dating. I'll call my brother and sister, though I'm slightly more wary of interrupting their social/family lives.

That's why I love texting so much, though. It's not terribly intrusive. Sure, I might text you during dinner time, or while you're in labor. But it's not like you have to get back to me immediately - you can take your time responding. I am much more patient, weirdly, expecting text responses than I ever was waiting for someone to e-mail me back.

I make the phone calls I have to make. I need to set something up with a parent at school? I'll steel myself to make the call. If my wife isn't home and the kids will starve if I don't call the pizza place? I'll order the pizza. (Or I'll just throw on some pasta.)

Anyway, conveniently enough, usually when something merits a phone call at home, my wife is able to do that. I can't do things like call the electrician or the phone company or schedule the doctor's appointments because I'm at school during the day. She's home a couple of days during the week to do that. (I know it's a lame excuse and there are ways around this…but I'm going with it. It's worked for almost ten years now.)

Friday, though, I found myself home during the work day. I decided to call the town's public works department. They took down my address, and within three hours the brush was picked up.

I can't tell you how accomplished I felt.

It felt like something worth celebrating.

Too bad no one was there to order me a pizza.