It isn’t often one receives a phone call at 00:40, the very early hours of Monday.
I needed to do some thinking and get rid of some negative energy. One way I do so is by writing. Another is by cleaning, my choice if it’s heavy stuff. I chose cleaning. I felt there were aspects of my life I had left unattended to and now the chickens were coming home to roost. Cleaning and decluttering my kitchen wasn’t just expending the bad energy, it was symbolic too. As I tossed one old newspaper or expired birthday greeting card, I was removing old information and expired viewpoints. The icing on the cake would be using the scented solution I just happened on to wash the kitchen floor, hmm!!
Imagine my surprise when the home phone rang. At 00:40. I stared at it, I didn’t have my glasses on so couldn’t see the number display from where I stood. I said a quick prayer as my mind flew to my parents in Nigeria.
It was a UK mobile phone, a familiar number that I’ve refused to memorise. I picked it up.
“Yes mum, are you ok?”
“They say a cosmic wave is coming. Don’t sleep with your mobile phone next to you. It will happen tonight between 12 midnight and 3am.”
“Mum?” I know she’s ok physically, I’m now wondering about her mental state. She was fine when I spoke to her this morning so where is this coming from?
“Yes, did you hear me? Don’t put your phone near your body tonight even if it’s off, cosmic waves are being released and it is very dangerous. I just got the text.” She delivers that last sentence with an air of importance, the type that’s used when one has been privy to classified government information.
My mind instantly becomes a war zone. Should I enjoy the pleasure of telling mother-in-law that she is seriously mistaken? That this is a hoax that’s been going around- I later find out- for a year? Or should I give her the pleasure of knowing she saved our lives by feigning relief and gratitude that she delivered us from death by planetary explosion?
I decide to try a third unrehearsed route;
“Mum! You scared me, I thought something had happened!” That way I come across like the caring daughter-in-law
“Is this not something? This is the something that has happened now! You don’t think this is serious enough?” She has now taken on a condescending tone, but carries on; “Do you think I should call your sister-in-law to warn her?”
“No, no, no”, I toss in a chuckle. “Don’t mum, you can tell her tomorrow”
“But it’s happening tonight! That’s what I’m trying to tell you Toks, the cosmic waves are coming tonight.”
“Mum it’s not real, these things are circulated often, it’s a hoax.”
“Anyway please go round to all the boys” (like there are 10 of them) “and check their phones, you hear?”
She didn’t hear that part, she’d already hung up.
There are several reasons why this is worrying. If the hoax creators have taken to spreading their messages by text, then they have just discovered their PR candidate. This means there’ll be many more middle of the night phone calls.
And it’s not like I can switch off the phones in case there’s a real emergency.
On the one hand I want to set her straight in case she falls for a riskier scam, but on the other hand why take away the feeling of martyrdom that swaddles her as she saves our lives, one hoax after another?
Tell me, what should I do?