Monday, January 10, 2011

Admissions of a Phonophobe

Photo credit Sneerath H B

I started out really liking tech toys.  When I was two, my friend Iván had the coolest electric toy train set.  It looked like sooooo much fun, but he wouldn't share.  So guess what I wanted for my birthday?  Yes, all the keeping up with the Gomez' starts early.  By the time I was in first grade, I had my own computer (a TRS-80) and was delighted to be part of a special class that got to use computers in school (mostly, we just played Oregon Trail).  I loved to answer the phone, and was excited to find out that I could call my dad at work, even though I didn't know the number.  He was not quite so excited to get a phone bill with a large number of person to person calls.

Then, as I grew older, my enthusiasm waned.  I began to get really nervous talking on the phone.  I would pace and write myself a script, even when calling a friend.  I hated talking to someone I didn't know, and would avoid it any way possible.  Answering machines were the worst.  Knowing that I was being recorded was terrible pressure.  I would frantically rush through, trying to remember all the important pieces of information, and still generally leave out something important.  I felt so stupid.

As an adult, I had to do it through sheer necessity, but that didn't mean I had to like it.  I did, however, like having other people leave messages for me.  In the olden days back before caller ID, I was still a fan of screening calls.  My husband and others were perplexed at how I could be in a room and let the voice mail pick up.  I just didn't see a ringing phone as an imperative.

My husband loves tech toys.  He uses his phone all the time, is knowledgeable about all the latest computer info and developments.  Me?  If it works, I'm good.  I didn't even know how to create links in my blog posts until a few months ago, and only recently learned how to add pics.  We got our first cell phones a couple of years ago, and just got a plan where we could text a couple of months ago.  So it is safe to say that I am a little behind the times.

But, I am still changing, at least.  One of the biggest evolutions was a thorough dislike of phone messages.  I think it was because of the way my old cell phone was set up.  It took forever to listen to a message.  The maddeningly deliberate computerized voice would draw everything out so slooooooowwly.  Hello.  Accessing your voice message system (several beeps).  You  First message. seven...twenty-two...A.M.  Now, all of this build up would make it seem as if there were a critically important message waiting.  But no.

At least 19 out of 20 messages were from a delightful lady, who shall remain nameless, and primarily consisted of random info about people I don't know.  "Hi, just calling to see what you were up to.  I am on my way over to Wilma's house.  (I have absolutely no idea who Wilma is).   She fell down yesterday when she was removing her Christmas lights and really banged up her knee.  She can move it well, but is still in a lot of pain.  And on top of that, her blood pressure has been acting up, and she may have to see if she can switch medications... (Naturally, I am saddened to hear of Wilma's misfortunes, but not having any idea who she is makes it all seem rather... remote).  I think her son is coming to visit, too.  Or maybe it is tomorrow.  No, I am pretty sure she said this afternoon.  Anyway, after I check in on her, I am going to stop by the church and... (Usually, around this point, it cuts off).  I had wasted several minutes of my life only to learn that Wilma, whoever she is, is having a rough time, but will hopefully be cared for by her son, who is probably coming today, but possibly tomorrow. 

A small thing, I know, but nonetheless frustrating.  So, when my husband presented me with an ultra-cool new phone for my birthday, it wasn't just the apps that I appreciated.  Sure, I adore Pandora, and yes, I've become mildly addicted to Sudoku.  I love how easy it is to upload pics and being able to surf easily while one of the babies is nursing.  In fact, it has converted me into a huge tech-toy fan myself.  But one of my favorite features is that the voice mailbox was not enabled.  Lest I sound too callous, I call back as soon as possible if I have a missed call.  And if it were an emergency, they would have my husband's number, or they could text us.  It actually works out that I talk to them sooner, since I am not listening through interminable messages before returning the call.  The downside, of course, is that I may never discover who Wilma is. 

1 comment:

Staci said...

Soo funny! I was ALWAYS on the phone as a teen, but now I avoid it as much as possible. OTOH, I hate having to call people I don't know; EX: pizza delivery, bill people. Whenever possible, I get my hubby to do it. I love that I can do so much stuff online now. I think I have a social problem. :)