Cafe Hitch-hike


Reach out and touch someone

I had a dream the other night that I received a bill in the mail. It looked just like the printed invoice-style bills sent by telecom companies. One line included the monthly service fee, then additional ones added taxes and other charges. Below that would be long-distance.

I looked at the amounts that were charged:

Phone call (Timmy), 10 minutes: $75.00

Timmy called me for the first time in ages the other day, and I was startled by the cost of the call, considering it was so brief! It wasn't like I called a 1-900 entertainment line!

Another charge:

Phone call (Lana), 40 minutes: $6.00

A long-distance phone call to my sister or any other relative at that price sounded typical, considering how much it used to cost to make those before the era of unlimited minutes! After a while, I budgeted how much I'd spend on long distance for the people I really wanted to connect with, especially before phone cards became available. Then, there was the occasional emergency call which couldn't be helped. Sometimes spending $35.00 on a call was what saved me or someone else!

Then, the bill included calls with others from the past:

Phone call (Felipe), 3 minutes: $105.00
Message sent (Lily), 2 minutes: $40.00

I saw other itemized charges for calls to others, but refused to read them any further. I felt upset and surprised from the exorbitant charges! These were very unexpected, and I felt irritated from thinking about paying for those instead of spending money on things I liked or needed more!

I couldn't help but wonder how much did interactions with certain people actually cost me? It looks like they costed quite a bit, maybe not in terms of actual dollars but maybe... emotional price? Is this the emotional cost one pays when they give to others that don't or won't give much in return? Was this a mark of the times when I gave a lot with the hopes of some return? Or, was this the actual emotional costs of these relationships, plain and simple?

That's an interesting concept... how much do we really get from the things we give? I don't want it to sound like love and friendship is like currency, but maybe there's a problem when something starts costing more than what it is really worth. Maybe there's an aspect of friendships that are like investments, where you hope what you give keeps it viable and thriving as opposed to having diminished or stagnant value? I'd say the $6.00 phone call to my sister or beloved person was the market price and worth it, but the high costs for the brief calls to flaky or fair-weather friends? That's pretty obvious...

downwind | upstream