Let me take you back to before all this instant message social networking, don’t worry, we wont go back to as far as snail-mail and finding penpals in columns of Parade, Moto, Horizon, Look and Listen, Drum, Bona and later People Magazine. When you wanted to meet new people you had to actually go outside and hang out where real people hung out.
This was easy enough, unless of course, you were the less outgoing variety and would rather much stay home and listen to the radio. A moment of silence in honour of those radio personalities who spend hours behind the microphone seeming like they are talking to only you and you alone. Radio was like a meeting place listening to other people call in and sometimes you might just feel brave enough to call in too.
On Sundays there would be some Your Song Date Line phone-in session where callers would call to talk about the type of people they wanted to meet and leave their numbers and interested people would get in touch. I used to tune in and listen while making funny faces at all the callers who were brave and stupid enough to air their desperation on national radio, I mean what would be wrong with you that you needed a radio DJ to help you meet new people; not mention that your number would be broadcasted to all sorts of weirdos out there.
Mostly I was just jealous because I was not brave enough to be stupid. So, every Sunday I listened to the callers and their phone-in song requests which really was the best part of the programme anyway, cause then the radio played the songs people wanted than their curated playlists which they claim are the popular songs.. They are popular because you keep telling us these are the popular songs.
Anyway, there I am, listening and making aside comments in my head… when a caller made me freeze; she sounded like an old crush I had heard briefly, right down to the way words rolled off her tongue, she wanted to connect with book lovers and her number was 091…… I didn’t even realise it but I had punched in the number in my phone.
Her name was.. lets call her [redacted] and her number was… busy try again later. How could it not be, I bet everyone who had been listening was busy trying to call her, well, I know I was. Suddenly I was a teenager again, awkward and painfully shy. She had requested Leona Lewis’ hit song Bleeding Love and every time the phone busy tone sounded I was cut open and kept bleeding, bleeding…
Eventually I settled for sending an SMS, something along the lines of:
Hi I am B.. heard you on radio, you remind me of someone, did you ever participate in the Lyons National High School public speaking. You have a lovely voice, what sort of books do you read maybe we might exchange titles.
Had to keep it under 160 characters, $1 only got you 10 text messages, so had to make every sms count and of course she didn’t reply… not immediately. Had half-forgotten sending the message when days later a message from an unknown number came through…
Hi B. I am using my mum’s phone reply on my number don’t have text messages.. Its [redacted] from radio…
Of course, I hustled and send her the recharge voucher numbers for a mega value text top-up which got you 25 texts to the dollar. We texted up a storm, and what a coincidence, she had turned out to be a long lost crush, someone I had seen briefly on stage and never again and radio radio had brought us together.
We had so much in common, had gone to sister catholic schools, had the same mission school stories, read the same fantasy books, had the same favourite colour, loved the same movies, same songs, same everything, she was that oh my gosh me too vibe and we quickly graduated to those no you hang up phone calls.
Of course the next logical thing was to meet, somewhere public and safe because hello, the world is full of weirdos.
Set a date for the Eastgate Skywalk Food Court…
How will you know it’s me… I will know you… I will be the girl in the yellow dress and I will be the guy dressed in black holding a yellow flower… black and yellow black and yellow what a contrast.
Of course I was nervous, butterflies in my tummy, common sense leaving my body, as I went up the escalator to the Skywalk.. Well, common sense hadn’t entirely left, see the flower was tucked into the sleeve of my jacket out of sight, until,…
I spotted her, lets just say, she was not who I had expected, the word catfish comes to mind but back then there hadn’t been a name for it. I was a young and Shallow B, so I walked right past the fishcat.
From the corner of my eye, I saw her reach for her phone and presumably dial my number because shortly afterwards I could feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, good thing had put it on silent just before the recon mission. I let it ring.
One Missed Call
I didn’t turn around as I calmly walked out of our happy ever after.
She never tried calling me again, neither did I.
How do you get over someone you never dated, with great difficulty, she had pretended to be my old crush and in turn, I stood her up… who scammed whom?