“Butt Dialed” Club

I only ever once had a butt dial disaster, because that’s as many times as it takes to teach you the ultimate lesson. Post butt dial disaster, I am perpetually paranoid my phone stays locked.

The butt dial story was epic with eternal consequences.

My mother-in-law was in town for my daughter’s second birthday party. Since our daughter’s birth, there had been a lot pent up tension over how my husband felt ignored by his mother at the most important part of his life. The irony was the night before the party, my husband and his mother reunited in a forgiving hug after a five-hour historical shouting fight where a lifetime of grievances and resentments reared their ugly heads. I spent the five hours locked inside my bedroom as they hashed it out. While I I overheard tiny snippets of conversation, I mostly felt left out, a hostage in my own bedroom. I hadn’t achieved the false sense of closure my husband had.

On the day of the party, I thought they had kissed and made up and while I seethed inside, I carried on while my husband lost his shit (fake forgiveness!) because his mother, the party planner, was commanding him at his party and when he didn’t want to do it her way, she threw a hissy fit and screamed, “Go fuck yourself,” as she retreated to the apartment away from the party room. Eventually, she reappeared at the party with her plastic smile plastered to her face telling my family members that he told her to “fuck off.”

The next day my husband and I needed to make some returns to Costco and my mother in law babysat our kids. At the warehouse, my husband and I had escalated to shouting about “the nerve of her” and walked into the store and took our place on the returns line. It was the culmination of two years of frustration and a tad dose of PMS to boot. I don’t remember much of what we said and we never learned what she ACTUALLY heard, but there’s one thing I said, angrily, which emerged in a huge thought bubble above my head: I called my husband’s dead grandmother, my mother-in-law’s most beloved mother, my daughter’s namesake (middle name!)…a CUNT. I think the exact line may have been, “Your grandmother was probably just as much of a cunt as your mother.”

It’s unclear when my husband realized his phone was on or for how long. We knew we’d be coming home to a tornado and it was a twister like I’d never imagined between a mother and a son, but the consequent fight and ongoing family saga continued. Butt dial lessons are apparently learned only the hard way.

Remember Chuck, the 28-year-old ex-Marine, the supervisor from the water cleanup company? I witnessed Chuck have his butt dialing lesson and it’s much funnier when it’s happening to someone else.

On that last Friday when Chuck didn’t want to leave our apartment, he was stalling with chatter and my husband busted out the 10-year-old Scotch to have a shot and send him on his way. During this drawn-out deliberate delay, Chuck’s cell phone rang incessantly. He told us it was his girlfriend. The ringing wouldn’t stop; she clearly kept on with the redial more in an effort to piss him the fuck off than to actually talk to him. He refused to pick up and she persisted. By the time I asked, she was up to 87 calls. I thought I misheard him, but he said, “That’s nothing. One time she called 164 times. I even had my boss write her a letter saying her calling was jeopardizing my job. She didn’t care.”

I told Chuck (he didn’t ask) she was crazy and making women everywhere look bad. Who goes begging so desperately when he’s clearly rejecting? After 87 calls, we had a few minutes of quiet and this gave Chuck the floor to freely rant about the girlfriend.

“I hate her. She’s a crazy bitch. I only moved in with her because I was kicked out of my old apartment and she offered me a room to stay in for $200. I don’t even sleep in the same room as her. We haven’t had sex for 9 months and I save my erections for YouPorn. I don’t even want a free blowie from her.”

My husband and I stood  with our eyes wide open, our mouths even more so.

“What does your girlfriend do for a living?” I ask, quickly imagining a stripper or heroin addict.

“She’s a nurse at the number one hospital and New York City.”

Mind blown; judgments crushed.

“Well, at least she finally stopped calling,” my husband says.

Chuck looks at his phone to check on the final ‘missed call’ tally … and that’s when he realizes he had accidentally picked up the last call.

“Oh shit,” Chuck says and quickly hits the red button to hang up.

This is when the text messages started coming in rapid succession.

“Go fuck yourself! You’re the worst human being in creation. I am packing up all your shit and throwing it out and changing the locks, you fucking fuck. You won’t have to worry about blowies from me anymore.”

There were dozens more text message in a similar theme.

“What are you going to do now?” I ask Chuck, somehow feeling responsible for instigating some of the nasty conversation she overheard.

“Who knows?” he says acting like he doesn’t care, or maybe like he’s saved.  “I have negative fourteen dollars in my bank account. I’m going to Mexico in two weeks. Maybe I won’t come back.” 

The real lesson of the butt dial is: even when you’re not meant to hear it, there’s no coming back from what’s been overheard.

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