The Middle of the Night Phone Call

on May 29, 2013 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 20 comments by

On Monday night, my phone rang at 1:45am.

That doesn’t happen. Ever.

I leave my phone on at night for a lot of reasons, including:

  1. We don’t have a landline at our house
  2. I have a lot of college kids in my life and they do not respect the appropriate hours of sleep when it comes to texting or calling. While it can make me feel sleepy, I am grateful that they want my voice on the other end of the phone any time of day.
  3. I have a very sick family member right now, so a middle of the night phone call wasn’t off the list of possibilities this week.
  4. I have a ridiculous fear that began when my grandmother passed away my freshman year of college. I worry that if I am not WITH my family, something could happen to them- implying that if we are in the same town, I have any amount of control over the health and well-being of my family. This is dumb on a billion levels, and I have worked through it a lot with my counselor and God, but I still want me phone on all the time in case. Just in case.
[I know. That got a little serious all the sudden. Sorry. But sometimes it is important to remind y’all that I’m a nutso.]

So when my phone rang, I shot up.

The number wasn’t saved, but it was a 615 number, meaning local to Nashville. So in a split second, I ruled out family calling and began to wonder which college student it was.

“uhhh… hello?” I answered while still sitting in bed with my eyes closed.

“Annie?” an older woman’s shaky voice was on the other end and now I was totally confused. Not a college student? And someone who knows my first name? I felt a little panicky wondering who this would be.

“Yes ma’am….”

“This is your upstairs neighbor.”

So I should probably explain this: we have an upstairs neighbor in our house. She’s a really sweet older lady who we rarely see. When I realized it was her on the other side of the phone, I had such a soft heart because maybe this was some sort of emergency and she needed help.

Bless her.

“Yes ma’am. Hi. Are you okay?”

“Yes, honey, I’m fine. Listen. I was just taking some mail to the mailbox and noticed your kitchen light on. Are you home? Just wanted to make sure you were if your kitchen light was on.”


You are calling me, at 1:45am, because you were GOING TO THE MAILBOX and MY KITCHEN LIGHT WAS ON? Wait wait wait.

The confusion with a small side helping of anger began to mount, but I stayed calm and finished the conversation.

“Yes ma’am. I guess I left it on. Goodnight.”

And scene.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that she was concerned.

But 1:45am.

This has made me re-think my need to have my phone on all night long.

. . . . .

How do you handle your phone at night? On? Off? Silent?


  1. ~VA~
    posted on May 29, 2013 at 5:33 AM  |  reply

    I used to keep my phone on full volume…telemarketers in the middle of the night ended that…now I leave it on vibrate but usually somewhere I won’t hear it unless I am expecting a text from someone…I figure almost anything that happens in the middle of the night I probably won’t have the ability to take care of until the morning anyway…

  2. KA
    posted on May 29, 2013 at 7:30 AM  |  reply

    The phone being on ring vs vibrate depends on if I’ve remembered to take it off vibrate from work πŸ™‚ I also have the “do not disturb” feature enabled from 10:30 PM – 6:30 AM, so only calls from people on my “favorites” list make it through during that time. Texts from everyone still come through, though I don’t generally hear those because I sleep in ear plugs (noisy neighbors).

  3. Lauren
    posted on May 29, 2013 at 8:27 AM  |  reply

    Do Not Disturb on the iPhone is the best feature of all time! Tell your family and college girls to call twice if it’s an emergency and it’ll go through…nothing else will. πŸ™‚

  4. posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:46 AM  |  reply

    Like you, I leave my phone on at night because I live out of state from my family. If I get a “GET HOME NOW!” phone call, I can get there faster if I start at 1am than 8. However, I rarely answer the phone if it rings in the middle of the night. Sometimes I don’t hear it and sometimes I see whoever is on the other end will be ok with waiting until morning (like an unsaved number). I also am often alone at night. If I need to make a 3am emergency phone call, it’s faster if the phone’s already on. In fact, I have and I’m grateful she had her phone on too.

  5. posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM  |  reply

    Can we talk about the fact that she was *taking mail to the mailbox in the middle of the night*?! Oh my lands! Bless your heart. I have a few similar neuroses about my family needing to reach me.

    • posted on May 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM  |  reply

      RIGHT?!?! I thought the exact same thing.

  6. posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:49 AM  |  reply

    My phone flips to “Do Not Disturb” at 9pm and then comes back at 7am.

  7. Angie
    posted on May 29, 2013 at 10:18 AM  |  reply

    I wholeheartedly agree with the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone. I have mine set from 11-7 and only calls from certain people get through. Although, if someone not on your favorites list calls twice within three minutes, the second call rings. Mine also silences text messages (or else I’m going deaf and can’t hear them). Do Not Disturb is one of my favorite features on my phone. πŸ™‚

  8. caren
    posted on May 29, 2013 at 11:40 AM  |  reply

    This is hysterical! I leave my phone on for many of the same reasons! But I put it on the do not disturb. I have saved some “favorites” whose call will go straight through, but that way texts and emails don’t wake me up! πŸ™‚
    sidenote: I love when you so from funny to serious back to funny again. It’s my favorite Annie.

  9. posted on May 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM  |  reply

    When I get a call late at night, I immediately think, “Who Died?!”. Growing up we were taught that it was rude to call anyone after 9pm. Nowadays, I can handle the phone ringing until about 10:30. After that it feels too late.

    No one ever calls my cell phone that late. But we have a Vonage line that gets the occasional call from a telemarketer. The bad thing is, we are 7 hours ahead of yall. So their evening call wakes us up in the middle of the night!! UGH!

    I always give them my sleepiest pathetic tone and say, “you’re calling Istanbul and it’s 3 am. Please don’t ever call again. We don’t want it, no matter what you’re selling!”.

  10. posted on May 29, 2013 at 2:33 PM  |  reply

    Thank you. I needed a laugh πŸ™‚ I rarely get calls, ever. I get texts and since I’m a heavy sleeper and don’t always hear my incoming text sound (the “dun dun” from Law & Order, hehe) my phone is on, medium volume.

    Does anyone else know about I would input my family’s phone numbers on there from time to time and we hardly get telemarketers.

    Oh and in my neighborhood, if someone puts something in a mailbox in the middle of the night, it’s called a drop. Haha, jk. Sorta.

  11. posted on May 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM  |  reply

    I totally agree with all the Do Not Disturb comments. Living in San Diego I was getting TONS of crack of dawn texts from sweet friends that I would sleep through but Jason wouldn’t. Now I know I’ll get a call if it’s an emergency or from family members, otherwise, I’m sleeping soundly.

  12. Merideth
    posted on May 30, 2013 at 7:18 AM  |  reply

    I have never used the do not disturb feature on my phone, but may consider it. I used to turn my phone off at night, plug it in, and charge it. But, a few years ago there was a death in the family, and because all of us here at the house had our phones off people had a hard time reaching us to tell us. With relatives in other states I decided that it was best for me to leave my phone on at night just in case. Plus, in case I have an emergancy and need to quickly call someone. But, I do not have the volume up very high, so if I get a text or anything it doesn’t wake me up.

  13. Hillary
    posted on May 30, 2013 at 3:01 PM  |  reply

    Mine’s on vibrate. If someone calls it’ll probably wake me, but it doesn’t vibrate for texts so if someone ridiculous texts me in the middle of the night. I’m good.

  14. Louise
    posted on May 30, 2013 at 3:25 PM  |  reply

    Silent, every night. I live in a different country to my family so even if it was urgent I’d have to wait till morning to get home anyways.

  15. posted on May 30, 2013 at 5:20 PM  |  reply

    Too funny Annie! Sounds like someone I know! Haha!

  16. posted on Jun 02, 2013 at 11:20 PM  |  reply

    Oh, dear Annie. So funny! I leave my phone on because nobody ever calls me. At night anyway. So it doesn’t matter. But your story reminds me of the neighbor of an single friend of mine in the midwest who wanted to arrange a deal with her that when my friend was home she would open her kitchen curtains. Because if she didn’t, how would the oh-so-nice neighbor know when she was home??? (Cue squinched confused eyebrows…) Sounds like she and your upstairs friend should be friends. πŸ™‚

  17. Stephanie
    posted on Jun 04, 2013 at 8:56 AM  |  reply

    My phone is on SILENT. Since I don’t *think* I have Do Not Disturb and since I’ve learned the hard way about people bothering me in the middle of the night for non-emergencies, leaving my phone on silent seems to be the only graceful option for ignoring such texts, etc.

  18. Sara
    posted on Jun 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM  |  reply

    I’m in Nashville and most of my family is in NJ/PA…so I keep my phone on all night long. (It makes complete sense to me that you can control it when they are in the same town/area. That or I’m as neurotic as you are about it!). Reading the comments might make me a believer in the Do Not Disturb function, though!

  19. Rebecca
    posted on Oct 14, 2013 at 9:45 AM  |  reply

    My mother has a button on her arm if she falls. It rings me no matter what time. Since I put my number on the National do not call list I have been receiving numerous calls in the middle of the night. None of them answer and when I hit redial there is a disconnected number on the other end. I would like to know how to make the phone only ring if it is someone I know. It sounds like you can so I am going to look into it.

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