“When you are on the phone, I am invisible.”

September 11, 2015

Notable Stats

Perceived Blind Blinders Zone (PBBZ) – The area of visibility when you get on the phone. Scientifically, it is the same as when you are not on the phone. But to your children, it reduces to zero when you are talking on any device.
Rowdiness Ratchet-Up Rate (RRUR) – The time it takes for your child to determine you have gone completely sightless when you start talking on your cellphone. Instantaneously is the national average.

It never ceases to amaze me. I accept that when I leave the room, my kids may try to be slick. Maybe jump on a bed, maybe sneak a handful of forbidden Fruit Loops. Maybe grab the dog's tail for a hot second, just to touch it.

That makes some sense because I physically cannot see anything through walls or ceilings. Of course, parental hearing is other-worldly, but even that cannot catch everything. OK, I get that.

But, what I do not get is how I could be staring right at my son one second and he is sitting quietly reading a book, then, I take a call, and he immediately goes to the stairs and tries to do a headstand on the seventh stair. And yes, to be clear, the stairs were two feet from where he started and, quite possibly, closer to where I was before I took the phone call. In other words, he is doing it, right in front of my face.

Did I somehow leave Earth when I accepted that call? Is the phone some sort of cloaking device that does not cloak the caller, but cloaks everyone around the caller? I guess that would be a great way to take a call, the entire world disappears and you are in a special vortex putting all your energy and focus into the call. Unless it is President Obama or my favorite band, Daryl Hall and John Oates, or maybe an alien calling me from an unexplored world who happens to speak English, I doubt I ever need that kind of focus. 
Now strategically, I do not understand what my kids are actually thinking. They act crazy and do things they know they are not supposed to do in such close proximity to their parents when their parents are on the phone, that even if my sight was not working, I could still smell them. In fact, I can do so with horrible seasonal allergies where you could put a piping hot cinnamon roll under my nose and I would not smell it. They are practically bumping into me with sheer defiance. 
Sure, it is contrived at times, just trying to get attention as you pay attention to something else. Fine, I can accept that, but can we be a little more discreet? Actually, I should not wish for that because that will be the moment when they are old enough to drive off with your car while you are on the phone. 
What is also fascinating is they not only expect your six senses (a bonus one for parenting) to evaporate as soon as you say hello, but also that their senses evaporate in some sort of twisted symbiosis. I am on the phone, interrupting my conversation to tell my son in stentorian voice to stop trying to pour ice cubes down his own shirt, and even though he is less that three feet from me, he cannot hear me because in his view, I cannot even see him. 
I did go to Wikipedia and it was confirmed that a loss of one of your senses does not correlate to the loss of a completely different sense in another human being unless you are somehow half-human, half-bee. But I digress.
Kids, let’s have a chat about this problem. We see you, we hear you, we smell you, and if we bothered to stick out our tongue when we are on the phone, we taste you because what you are doing is right under our nose, literally. The scam is not working at all. You can lose privileges even when I cannot see you and hear you trying to sneak Skittles out of the pantry after bedtime. So trust me, we know what you are doing, and it is so obvious, the person on the other side of that call knows it too.

- Doug Glanville

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