I’m not sure when I realized that I really don’t like talking on the phone. It certainly wasn’t when I was a preteen/teen, talking for hours on a corded phone with no call waiting. It wasn’t when I was older, dating, waiting for the phone to ring. It wasn’t during college. It wasn’t even when I started working in the real world, when I’d call someone proudly proclaiming where I was calling from.
But somewhere in the years that followed, I found myself avoiding the phone. No, I didn’t have creditors chasing me or crazy stalkers heavily breathing in the phone. I began to find the phone ringing to be annoying. Caller ID? The inventor should be given lots of awards and money...at least I didn’t need to answer the phone.
At one point in my early social work career, I was handed a pager (one of many pagers I would carry) and was told that I would be on call 24 hours a day for my caseload. I had a collection of 10 very emotionally disturbed children and their families to provide therapy and life guidance. So when that beeper went off and I had to call the family of one of these children, I felt anxiety. They weren’t calling to say hello. They were calling because they were having a crisis. I was being paid to be an expert and manage said crisis. The crises I could handle. But somewhere there I think I started associating beepers and telephones ringing with problems. It seems completely dumb to develop PTSD over phones but I sort of think I did.
I gradually moved out of high stress social work (hats off to DSS workers and other social workers who handle very difficult clients) into more manageable daytime no-beeper social work. Well I did carry a beeper, but the calls I got were not because someone was running away or pulling or knife or some other horribleness.
But my annoyance with beepers and phones remained. I realized I really couldn’t stand chatting on the phone about nothing. If I had to have a phone conversation, I really wanted to get right to the point, whatever that point was. There was no point to the conversation? Oh, let’s hang up now ok? There were times when I wanted to say “can we get to the point?” But I didn’t. Because that would be rude.
I still am not a big fan of shooting the breeze. On the phone anyway. I certainly don’t have a problem talking in person. You can’t shut me up. But my house phone or cell phone ringing? Oy. In fact, my cell phone is almost always on vibrate. You’re lucky if I hear you calling. You do get lucky if you call and I’m in the car. I don’t mind answering in the car (weirdo, I know) because I’m often slightly bored driving. Then you have to contend with me shouting to you (Claire says I do this) because I’m certain you can’t hear me on the Bluetooth. Claire assures me that you can hear me if I’m using a conversational tone. I’ll have to try that.
Now I AM a big fan of texting. I think the inventor of this is heaven-sent. Communicate with you? Rah rah! Don’t have to talk on the phone? Awesome. I love email too. My poor mother likes to talk to me on the phone but she gets a lot of emails. She emails a lot too. Yes, it would be quicker to speak all our news to each other. But I really like the email thing.
So now you know another one of my idiosyncrasies. I’m sorry if I’ve avoided your calls. Just shoot me a text and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Anyone else feel this way?