While I have you on the phone . . .

“While I have you on the phone . . .”
I realize this is an incomplete sentence and though my grasp on the intricacies of proper grammar is weak at best, I’m fairly certain beginning a sentence with a preposition is never a good idea.
Having said that, this piece of a sentence is part of a much bigger story.
How would you end that sentence if the sentence belonged to you? “While I have you on the phone . . . I would like to remind you that I’m turning 60 this year and you’re running out of time to select a really fantastic gift to mark this milestone.”
That’s a great option. Or “While I have you on the phone . . . I would like to say that if one more flake of snow falls from the sky, I am moving to, well, somewhere that isn’t here.”
Another reasonable option. The sky’s the limit, really.
Lately, I’ve been getting some complaints from a dear friend of mine with whom I speak on the telephone every day. Apparently, she thinks my version of “While I have you on the phone” is unacceptable—even borders on lunacy.
I don’t want to be critical of said friend. I’ll change her name to protect her lack of innocence in this matter to Alice Lorraine (“AL”), in light of our lengthy friendship, but I have no idea of what she is going on about.
She lives on Williams Avenue. 1020. Yes, that’s the one.
While I am on the phone, I like to use my time wisely. Sometimes I place the phone in the clothes peg box while I hang laundry; chatting with AL while getting an entry off my to-do list is killing two birds with one stone so to speak.
She never minded that particular situation; she thought it was rather lovely to spend the time together outdoors.
I sometimes drag boxes down the basement stairs or laundry baskets, or put myself in harm’s way while talking to her. She fails to see the heroics in my effort.
I have made my bed while we’ve chatted, ironed, baked a cake, vacuumed (though that doesn’t always work well with hearing and all).
I’ve even practised treading water in the hot tub while we’ve talked and that is no easy feat (which turns out to have been the last straw; where I tipped the scale from sanity to a lack thereof).
Balderdash, I say. And as we all know, balderdash means senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk—nonsense even.
I measure my value on any given day by my level of productivity and that which I have accomplished. Talking on the phone to AL gives me perfect opportunity to get something done.
Last week, for instance, I was up on the roof shovelling snow and pounding the ice away from the skylights. I chose not to take the phone with me in light of her recent criticism.
I could get one of those hand-free options so I could scrub the kitchen floor, clean my oven, or cut the lawn (though the lawnmower might deafen both of us).
I don’t understand where she is coming from. I’m sure you agree that my actions are perfectly acceptable while talking on the phone; falling under perfectly normal behaviour.
I knew you’d agree. If I were to just sit on the couch and chat with AL, I might dose off or my mind would wander. This way, I’m guaranteed full alertness or otherwise I would fall off the ladder while I’m painting the ceiling or any number of disasters.
She should thank me for my careful planning.
AL plans to make mention of all my oddities in my eulogy, a threat of sorts, which she claims may be sooner than later considering my choice of activities.
What does she know? I think I’ll go and dig out the dryer vent that is buried beneath 10 feet of snow.
Now where did I put the phone?
wendistewart@live.ca

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