It’s Not My Fault (Or Yours, Either)

Just the other night I was watching one of my favorite TV shows. The Crankee Yankee was long gone to bed and was sound asleep. Around 9pm, the phone rang. Now, two things: any phone call after 8pm usually means bad news, a death in the family, a trip to the ER, and so on. Do bear in mind that I was born in the ’50s, and no one ever called after 8pm unless it was an emergency.

Yeah, yeah, I know: those days are long gone. However, us baby boomers grew up this way and it’s a bit hard to shake the things we grew up with. These days when we get a phone call in the evening on or after 8pm, it’s either a scammer or an emergency. So when the phone rang at 9:02pm, I went right into ’50s mode. I answered the phone snarling, “who’s calling at this time of night?!”

Turns out it was an old friend of the Crankee Yankee’s, who was merely answering the voice message the Crankee Yankee had left him several hours ago. Well, I felt badly about my surly answer—for about one minute. Seriously, we truly stick by our old habits, one of which is don’t call after 8pm unless it is a dire emergency. 

Here’s the thing: at my age I still strive to be civil to people who call us; that is, except scammers. It’s an old habit to shake, but seriously, who calls late at night unless it’s an emergency?

That said, I didn’t feel all that bad about snapping at the guy on the other end of the phone. Of course, should I meet him in person, I will apologize for my snappishness. But seriously, I’m not going to waste my time worrying about offending someone who called late at night. That just not something I’m going to fret about. So I use the magic phrase “it’s not my fault,” and I feel better. There’s no sense swimming in guilt. I spent way too much time in my earlier life beating myself up over something stupid I said or did.

These days, I do my best not to offend anyone or be rude to anyone. BUT should I bark at someone who calls after 8pm at night, well—-that’s different story and I’m not going to waste my precious time worrying about offending the late-night caller. As I often say: not my zoo, not my monkeys.


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