When I was at home, I began to notice that if a phone call came through it would ring and ring – but Tony wouldn’t pick up the receiver. He confessed that he wasn’t comfortable answering in case it was someone he didn’t know. Our telephone did have a Caller ID screen, but he couldn’t decipher the name. I programmed some numbers into the Speed-Dial feature, and then realized that Tony couldn’t always identify the entries – and instead asked me to dial out. These developments were an indication that it was time for a bigger display screen, voice identifiers for each pre-programmed name, and an announcement as to who was calling when the phone rang.
I started using my cell phone number for contact information rather than our home phone. The home number had been registered on the national Do Not Call list, somehow numerous unidentified callers slipped through. Some important messages were missed though, and when I asked, Tony said he picked them up because the flashing red light meant there was a message. Then he would delete. It amazed me that he could still remember the password he chose. Changing it would have ignited an inferno; it was easier to skirt around the subject.
Family and our very few friends began to make their calls in the evening when they knew I would be at home to pick up – it was a matter of making a small adjustment to put things right without reminding Tony why; he knew too well and it felt infuriating.
If the doorbell rang and I was at home, Tony wouldn’t respond. “Sherry, somebody’s at the door” he would say. It dawned on me that he was apprehensive it might be someone he didn’t know. He would stand in the kitchen and separate the slats in the window blinds, just enough to peek through; like a nosey neighbor spying! If I was upstairs and looked down from the upper storey and could see the visitor, I would call down “Tony, it’s so-and-so”—and he would open the door.