Message on my answering machine from Dad. Chinese in italics.

Dad: Hello? Hello? HELLLOOOO? (long pause and LOUD traffic noise in the background). Operator? (long pause) Where are you? Why are you not at your dormitory yet? Is this your answering machine? I’m calling from my cell phone. (long pause) Is Ms. (my full entire name) there? Telephone number 713-xxx-xxxx? THIS IS YOUR FATHER.

How awesome is that? I love my dad! I have to say that the fact that he actually left a message on the machine is pretty remarkable. My dad’s a little technology phobic, plus he lives in a country where people don’t usually use answering machines. For a long time, he would just hang up the phone if the machine picked up. Then he started referring to it as the “Operator” (you know, like a telephone operator). Yes, I’ve had long chats with him about what an answering machine does and why he should leave a message – mainly, to avoid exchanges like this –

Dad: I called yesterday. Why didn’t you call back?

Me: I didn’t know you called.

Dad: The phone rang and rang. I called again but it still rang and rang.

Me: Why didn’t you leave a message on the machine?

Dad: Because I don’t want to. Why?

How can you argue with that? He still insists on calling my apartment a dormitory, even if I haven’t lived in a dorm for years. He’s trying though. He recently got a cell phone (his first!) because he said “all my friends have one and they told me to get one.”  Ahhhh…nice to know peer pressure exists even in your sixties.