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The phone in my rear pocket was vibrating. I scrambled to get to it before they hung up. Who is it? I’m out on the river trying to catch a trout when someone calls. It must be important. Most people know to reach me on my landline. I carry my cell with me in case Jan or one of the boys has an emergency or needs me. I dig in my waders and finally manage to grab it. I say hello and get silence back. Not complete silence. There is the rustling of cloth against something hard. That would probably be a hip pocket and a cell phone. I’ve been butt-dialed again.

Tom waiting for the phone to ring

Have you ever done that? You probably wouldn’t know if you had. That is how insidious the butt-dial can be. You can inconvenience someone and not even know it. It didn’t use to be like that. Before cell phones, one had to intend to make a telephone call. It could be the wrong number but that would be a dialing mistake, not a mistake in making a call in the first place.

I’m sure I do it myself. When your phone is in your hip pocket it’s easy to do. But I believe I’ve come up with a new and unique variation. I call it bed-dialing. To fully explain it, I’ll have to go back a few months.

I had been producing music videos for some Brewer and Shipley songs. For footage, I subscribe to a service that provides me with footage from photographers in 120 different countries. Great. Just what I needed. Over the last year, I have used material in two of the videos from one particular photographer, Dmytro Buyansky, and his beautiful young model, Mary. 

Dmytro Buyanski

I was really pleased with the videos. Great images, a pretty girl, and to my ear, beautiful music. I decided I would like to send the photographer and his model copies of the videos. At this point, I had spent so much time with images of the model, it felt like I knew her. It has always been like that for me when doing videos. I see so much of the person on the screen I get familiar with the subject’s various looks and such. So this was no different. 

Model Mary from “I Think I Saw An Angel” video

To find these folks was going to take some doing. I went back to the service where I had first found the footage and got a name. Some Google work and there he was. The photographer. Dmytro Buyansky. I sent him the Youtube link to the videos and hoped he and his model liked it. He did, and I was pleased. 

Model Mary from “Blue Island Moon” video

I was really pleased. Finding them had been a chore but it was worth it. And I wasn’t surprised when I found out where they called home base. The service I was using provided work from 120 different countries, and I used footage from Belarus and other places in eastern Europe. But that was different. These people were from Kyiv. And here come the Russians.

I picked up my cell and messaged them on Instagram. They were fine. They were in Sri Lanka. Good thinking, I said to myself. And that began a series of messages between a guy hanging out in the Ozark woods and a photographer on the run on a beach in Sri Lanka. His model, and I believe his crew, were with him.

Dmytro and Mary in Sri Lanka

Fast forward to last week. Jan and I were laying in bed getting ready to call it a night. As usual, I was on my iPhone still trying to figure out both it and Instagram when I came to my Instagram messages. I poked around there a bit, re-reading messages I had gotten from Dmytro. I was putting it away when I heard a voice. It was Dmytro.


I had never heard his voice, but broken English with a heavy Ukraine accent was a dead giveaway. There is a significant time difference between Missouri and Sri Lanka. My iPhone says “tomorrow plus 10½ hours”. Where they came up with the half hour, I don’t know but do the math. We headed to bed around 9:00 PM. That would put my accidental call to him at roughly 7:30 AM the following day. And from the way he was acting, I believe Dmytro might have been sleeping in late.

Dmytro looking cool

It was a video call at that, and I could almost see the sleep in his eyes. I, on the other hand, was horrified. I had just gotten into bed and was trying to get one toke over when the call happened. I looked pretty rough. And there was Jan next to me. No lady wants to be seen in the minutes before falling asleep but Jan leaned over to say hello.

We had a brief conversation. Dmytro was worried about his parents who are still in Ukraine and living not far from the war. And, much to my liking, we decided to set up some time to have a real conversation. Great. Dmytro is a fellow I might have had drinks with at a Greenwich Village bistro in another time long gone. 

The next day we exchanged messages, and I added a picture of Jan and me. I didn’t want him to think we always looked as rough as we had the night before. And Dmytro and his friends have introduced me to the art scene in Ukraine, a nation of artists and farmers. For that, I am forever grateful, and I promise never to bed-dial him again.

2 Responses

  1. Susan
    | Reply

    You are simply the best!

  2. Jack (England)
    | Reply

    Loved reading this. Connections can be formed in the most random of ways.

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