The caller doesn't answer immediately, and I can feel what's coming.
"You mom there?" She wishes I hadn't answered the phone in English.
My forehead gets all crinkly, the way it does when I really don't know what to do, and I try to sound patient and helpful, pronouncing each syllable clearly, "Maria? My mother? She is not home. May I take a message?"
There is another pause, and then the woman releases a soft "hmmm," once again wishing that I hadn't answered the phone in English.
"You mom... not there?"
I lapse into broken English. Maybe she'll understand me better if I leave out the unecessary words. "My mom -- Maria -- not here. Take message?" I'm ready for this to be over. The commercial break is ending, and my show is coming back on.
The woman makes an odd noise. It's like the bastard child of an "oh" and an "um."
I'm getting ready to repeat myself, but I don't have to. The woman speaks up. "Is ok. I call later."
I say goodbye to the empty line and go back to watching my show, but I've missed the climax, and now it's boring.