I’m sorry, but we can’t come to the phone right now because we are in the backyard sitting in the shade of a pear tree reading Treasure Island. Because we are across town eating hummus and listening to accordion music. We are watching an enormous beetle clacking about inside the shade of our table lamp.
I’m sorry, we can’t take your call, because we are staring out the living room window at a cloud shaped like a bowler hat, are slow dancing in front of the fireplace, are down at the beach after dark turning cartwheels and writing our names with sparklers on the air.
So sorry we missed your call. We were drinking plum brandy and watching a snow white cat walk across our balcony railing. We were waiting for the wine to breathe, and the shrimp to boil. We were trying to think of a seven-letter word for luminous, watching a documentary about Harry Houdini, and listening to my niece’s whooping laugh as she gets tossed up into the air and caught, over and over again.
If we don’t answer the phone right now, it’s not that we don’t want to talk to you. It’s just that we’re making shadow puppets on the wall, taking turns reading aloud The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, bicycling around the seawall, and charting walking routes to the North Pole.
Your call is very important to us, so please call back when we’re not eating mangos in the bathtub, practicing handstands against the wall, creating explosions with a chemistry set, chopping garlic and mint, painting our living room red, flipping through an atlas, trying on fur hats, burning popcorn, ordering curry, napping in the afternoon, building a bookcase, listening to a choir, drizzling oil on tomatoes, playing Chinese Checkers, lighting candles and blowing them out, learning Spanish, chasing the cat, creating a disturbance, stirring a pot of stew, cutting out newspaper articles, setting fire to the curtains, exploring caves, peeing in bushes, planting carrot seeds, burying bulbs, renting motorcycles, taking turns riding in a sidecar, laughing at funerals, whistling in graveyards, walking under ladders, telling tall tales, running backwards, perfecting martinis, losing at euchre, exchanging ghost stories over a campfire, skipping stones, drawing chalk pictures on the sidewalk, writing letters, eating muffins, reading tea leaves, losing our car keys, deciphering riddles, inventing new constellations, smoking joints on the rooftop, keeping a feather in the air with puffs of breath, searching for satellites, and counting our blessings.