Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Don't Call Me; I Won't Call You

You know how they said email signaled the death of letter-writing? Well, I'm here to say that, for me, it signaled the death of the phone call.

It wasn't a death I mourned, mind you. I am an inveterate phone-o-phobe, who would rather starve than call the Chinese restaurant to place a take-out order.

This has not been a particular boon to my chosen profession as, you know, a journalist. Who has to call and interview people all the time. And who dies inside a little bit, each and every time, though only during the dialing and awkward "do you have the time to talk" part. Once I get started--and realize that the person isn't going to slam the phone down or berate me for having the gall to bother him at that very moment, when he was JUST ABOUT TO DISCOVER THE CURE FOR CANCER, but now, NOOOOOOOO--I'm fine.

So, to me, the ability to email first, to set up a time, to sometimes even ask preliminary questions is like the Greatest Thing Ever. And that habit has definitely spilled on over into my 'regular' life as well. While I actually don't have a real problem calling close friends and family, it's easier to just email; I can do it any time, after all, and not just during 'polite' calling hours. Which works out especially well, considering that my best girlfriends are all equally phone phobic. I would say that the number of times in any give YEAR that I call any of the three of them at home would come out to less than a dozen.

Apparently, however, nobody told all this to the ladies at my synagogue.

I've become close friends with three women in particular, two of whom are phone people, with a capital PHONE. In the last week alone, I've had at least four or five phone conversations with one or the other of them that lasted close to an hour. And they've made me realize just how out of practice I've become at this whole phone thing. I mean, I have to say things without rereading them first to make sure they make sense! We go from topic to topic, and nobody changes the subject line! There are no emoticons!

But worst part of all is trying to end a conversation. It's easy with email; I'm done, I hit send, I move on. But this! This requires constant thinking and re-evaluation. Am I going on too long? Am I supposed to shut up now? Does she want me to shut up? Do I want her to shut up?

And yet, I'm having a lot of fun. In fact, after chattering away about a million different things and having my ear physically hurting by the time I get around to hanging up, I've become almost nostalgic for the old days. Almost. But not quite.

4 comments:

PnP said...

Ewwwwww!!!! You are enjoying the phone! Double EWWWWW!!!!

Lynnbug said...

Not big on the phone either. I used to be, but I got out of it and it most likely is because of computers and e-mail. I use the phone when it is only absolutely necessary and usually that is for talking to my 82 year old mother. She doesnt have e-mail.

GRIFTOY said...

(Shudder) friends with phone people? Can't do it!

breedemandweep said...

No no no no NO! NO NO NO! It's so...WRONG! THE PHONE IS WRONG! BAD BAD BAD PHONE! Don't let them get you! Save yourself before it's too late and you're the head of 40 "phone trees." Fate. Worse. Than. Death.