Behind the Back

Have you ever really wanted to go off on someone?

I grew up next door to my oldest sister. She might be 26 years my senior, and we might have been raised in different houses, but we’ve always been close.

I remember getting in trouble from her one time (there were many). She called me up and (rightfully) reprimanded me for my unacceptable behavior. I listened and apologized, then hung up the phone. But come on, I was 15–in my mind, I was totally right and she was totally stupid.

I hung up the phone and blew up. Oh, it was an impressive monologue, I spewed out all the things I was too chicken to say to her face, with my own mother sitting helplessly on the couch, listening. She knew it was pointless to interrupt me and she was right. I remember thinking, “Boy, I wish my sister could hear this!” My speech was eloquent, it was extensive, and it lasted a good ten minutes.

Just as I was finishing, exhausted from my lenthy tirade, a car pulled into the driveway. I sat silently in the chair by the door and listened to the steps on the porch. Then the front door opened.

There stood my sister.

I stared at her and she stared back in total silence, locking eyes with me in that intimidating, I’m-your-older-sister-and-I-know-everything kind of way. Then she calmly walked past me, over to the phone by the couch, and firmly hung it up.

That’s right. The phone had been off the hook the entire time and she had heard every. Single. Word.

My sister? She loved me. She forgave me. She remembered that I was just a kid with a serious case of hormones and an overactive imagination. She did what all good adults do and taught me how to talk through my feelings, face to face. I am so lucky to have her in my life, she’s one of the greatest communicators I know.

I learned two important lessons from this experience. 1) Never say things behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face, and 2) Always hang up the phone.


  1. Wow! That would so happen to me.

    And sometimes, I think that saying things to yourself, or writing them down, and not saying them to the person, is actually healthy. I know it’s helped me move on and get past it.

    The problem comes in when we gossip about it to other people, which I have been guilty of too.

  2. Okay, that is just hilarious. Out of a sitcom, but it wouldn’t be that funny in a TV show. It is, however, HILARIOUS (as I mentioned) in real life.

  3. That might be one of the coolest stories ever!

  4. Annie you always make me smile. I was an only girl and could so relate this to my three younger brothers and me. Thanks for making me realize they are my blessing in disguise and hopefully they will grow up SOON!!!

  5. Really great story!

  6. Really, that happened?

    I once screamed at my sister because I called a used music store and located a cassette copy of Flesh for Lulu’s Plastic Fantastic, but then she heard me on the phone and drove 20 miles to buy it first. It was very very rude behavior, but I’ve always regretted the screaming. There could be some things worth yelling about. Plastic Fantastic isn’t one of them.

  7. Words to live by, for sure.

  8. LOL…that happened to me once on a cell phone…didn’t turn it off or thought I did, but I didn’t! 🙂 Sad sad day!

  9. annie valentine says:

    Oh, Beezwax, it so happened.

  10. Okay, I think everyone in the world must be better than me. My sister and I fought ALL THE TIME. Screaming, yelling, more screaming. Yeah.
    And now, she’s my very best friend! 🙂

    (This story is AWESOME. Loved it!)

  11. Always hang up the phone- good to know!

  12. Oh, and I an experience with an email. Make sure that if you are forwarding a funny email to someone that you delete extra stuff you may have written about someone to another friend. Someone did this to me once and when I called her on it she was not quite so wonderful as you. She turned it back on me that I shouldn’t have been reading her email. WHAT? She sent the email to me!

  13. I like that… never say anything about anyone that you wouldn’t say to their face. Genius. Pure genius.

    Now how do I tell that to someone else? lol.

  14. Oh Annie, that would only happen to you.

  15. Your sister dealt with that in a BRILLIANT way. Kudos to her.

    Hate to say, but it’s stories like this (and a few of my own) that make me phone paranoid. I hang up like, three times just to make sure.

  16. That is funny, but? She drove over from next door?

  17. annie valentine says:

    We lived out in the country and she was “next door” as in, a quarter of a mile up the the country road.

  18. I so remember this happening. Good lesson to live by. Good thing she is pretty understanding.

  19. Boy, didn’t know you ever thought about that night again. How funny you wrote about it. Of course I remember it because the snoopy 17 year old I was, I was listening in on the whole conversation between you and my mom on the extension. So happens, I heard your whole tirade too! It really did happen people. I was only too sad that my mom firmly hung up the phone before I could hear what happened when she got down to your house!

  20. Oh so true. Never say anything that you wouldn’t say to their face.

    OR in other words, never blog anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. (lesson learned the hard way . . .)

    Everything always comes back, one way or another, to bite you in the rear!