When it comes to ending telephone conversations, I have lost the ability to hang up the damn phone. It becomes an awkward series of…

“Okay…see you…take care…talk to you later…have a good evening…alright….later…mm-hmm…goodbye…bye.

It doesn’t matter who the other person is, be they a close friend, old friend, remote acquaintance, service manager at the auto repair shop, my son, my daughter, or a wrong number. I’ve become too polite on the phone, and the endings become like a ping pong match between two mediocre players, back and forth, volley return, over and over again, because no one has a smash shot they can use to hang up the God damn phone.

There is, of course, one exception to this rule, and that is with my wife. After twenty years, we end our conversations like this:

“Is that it?”
“I guess.”

It’s over in two seconds. Hell, we don’t even say hello when we call.

“Did you bounce a check for $215.37?”
“I guess.”

I need to imagine that the entire world is my wife, and that there is no reason for pretension or ceremony. I need to end every phone call like it’s just another conversation in an infinite series of phone calls, mundane, boring, intrusive, and annoying. I need to say goodbye and hang up.

I’m done.