What Time Is Too Late To Call Someone At Home, And Other First Amendment Issues

I’ll admit it is not one of the burning questions facing our civilization, yet it led to one of the biggest fights between me and my sister.  I was not unused to my phone ringing at quarter after ten, and the voice on the other end of the line (my sister’s usually) would ask me something important like, “Who played Captain Stubing on Love Boat?”

I don’t know if it’s selfish and I don’t really care; I am one of those people who feels nine o’clock is too late to call someone at home.  Especially someone with children.  I try not to call people before nine a.m. or after nine p.m.  Obviously emergencies are a different story.  But “Was the guy who took care of Punky Brewster the same guy who played Commandant Lasard on Police Academy?” doesn’t exactly constitute an emergency.  Anyway, after about the third or fourth call from her after nine, I started answering the phone frantically asking if everything was alright.  If I could sound like she woke me up–even better.  She’s gotta get the freaking hint, right?

WRONG!  So I decided to confront her about it, as non-confrontationally as possible.  I figured I ought to at least give her the opportunity to understand how I felt and giver her a chance to do something about it before I got all pissed off.

We were sitting at the dinner table, and I turned to her and said, “While I’m thinking about it, could I ask you a favor.  Could you not call my house after nine o’clock anymore?  I think it’s a pretty standard cut-off time.”  She may as well have just given me the finger and spit poison in my eyes.  I couldn’t believe it.  She said she never heard of any cut-off time.  She asked other people at the table about a cut-off time, and much to my surprise most of them, the vocal ones anyway were on her side.  I tried to reel her back in, “I don’t care if you’ve heard of any cut-off time, I’m asking you not to call me after nine, why can’t you just respect my wishes?”  That is exactly what I said.  I swear to God.  She looked at me, flames shot across her glazed eyes and she shot back, “Respect your wishes?!  Who the hell are you?”

I’m the fucking guy who lives in the house who just fucking asked you not to call me after nine.  That’s who the fuck I am.  I was so pissed off, and everything just escalated from there.  Two out of the next three nights, I got calls from different members of my family at 8:57 and 8:56 respectively.  Both times they asked if they got the call in under the wire.  Are you kidding me???

It is truly the most frustrating thing in the world when you tell someone how you feel and they tell you you’re wrong.  I’d say it’s worse when it is someone close to you, but it seems like that’s the only people who are ever guilty of it.  Now strap in because here comes the First Amendment connection (I hope).  A few years back there seemed to be a sort of Right to Free Speech revolution in this country.  And it was led, as most of these “well thought-out” revolutions (like Political Corectness), by an ALMOST EDUCATED minority.  And by minority, I mean a group less in numbers than a majority (thanks political correctness for making sure I had to explain that one).  Anyway, the Right to Free Speech morphed somehow into the Right to be Heard, and finally into the Right Not To Be Disagreed With.

As ridiculous as this progression is to me (not to mention the fact that there wasn’t anything wrong with the First Amendment in the first place), and how many people I know who need to be disagreed with on a regular basis, I have a really hard time with someone else judging the validity of my feelings.  I know it was not her intention to upset me by calling me after nine, but she doesn’t have the right to tell me I shouldn’t be upset.  Oh well, what are you gonna do?  If you think I’m just acting like an ass, comment me.  Hell, call me–before nine.

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