Calling me during inopportune times has become a bit of a trend lately, so for those who have not mastered the knack, let me give you a few pointers. Since I’m a compulsive phone-answerer*, these are almost always guaranteed to work.

First of all, if you make that call today, then six hours, twenty-eight minutes, and thirty-seven seconds from now would be the perfect time. At that moment, I should be just forking up my first bite of dinner. People usually phone while I’m chewing my second bite, so this way you’ll beat them to it.

When you call, it’s best if you launch into the most recent drama in your life without asking me if the timing is bad. Otherwise, I’ll ask to call you back, and that’s just inconvenient for both of us. As long as I don’t have a chance to speak, it’s the perfect opportunity for a little chat.

I promise to hold up my end of the bargain by not chewing in your ear, especially as our dinner has some crunch. Waiting should teach me an important lesson in self-discipline, and I will be a much better person for it.

You don’t mind, though, if I watch my dinner get cold while you chatter? It was so lovely and steamy when you called. But, no, waiting to eat until it’s cold would be no problem.

Really.

And, finally, if this is too short of notice, you should know that I have a shower planned for around eight tonight. If you call then, please interrogate me on what I was doing when you interrupted, because I so want you to picture me, shivering and dripping, shampoo sliding down my scalp toward my left ear. Me picturing you picturing me won’t ick me out at all. Truly. Hint: This works best if you’re a distant relative or my husband’s boss — someone I try to act sophisticated and grown-up around.

Afterward, I’d adore it if you had me take a message. Please leave a phone number, and then insist I read it back to you, in order to ensure I actually scrounged for something to write with — and something to write on.

Oh, and bed’s at ten.

Thank you. I knew I could count on you to work me into your schedule.

*For those of you who are not familiar with it, compulsive phone-answering is a serious disease brought about by an over-developed sense of curiosity coupled with the conviction that the person on the other end of the line has an emergency. Cell phones are not recommended for those suffering from this affliction. Leaving phone off the hook or unplugging it may temporarily alleviate symptoms.