There was a time in my teenage years that I loved being on the phone; twirling my fingers through the curly wire that connected to some mysterious link in the wall, chatting for hours until Mom kicked me off, my sister unplugged the phone or someone made an emergency break through. I can honestly say that there was never an actual emergency; it was just someone who wanted to get through the never-ending busy signal. Makes sense.
Then there were times in college when I would spend hours on the phone with old friends in other states. One friend in particular used to read Chekov to me over the phone while we both had cocktails. That was pretty cool. (Did you know that when Chekov died they shipped his body by train in a car marked “oysters”? It was refrigerated.) I like it when people read to me, or I used to anyway. I even had a boyfriend who read stories about fly-fishing over the phone. Trust me, it’s more romantic than you think. There is nothing like a lover’s voice over the line reassuring you of your connection.
Nowadays everyone gets angry that I rarely answer my phone. There are a list of obvious reasons not to answer the phone: Naughty family member, unrecognizable number, I’m driving, I’m with other people, I’m sleeping, I’m PAINTING, or how about I just don’t want to talk?
It’s nothing personal; I just don’t like talking over the phone. Okay sometimes I do and I enjoy it but I don’t like my ear getting hot from the cell phone and quite frankly it makes me nervous. I like to keep calm as much as possible and I find the phone distracting. A lot of people just call because they’ve nothing better to do to fill their time. Waiting for an appointment? Make a call. Sitting in traffic? Make a call. Eating dinner with friends? Make a call.
Today I sat at the car wash and read from my rapidly disintegrating book of poetry! Yes, I read a little Melville ditty, and part of an Oscar Wilde poem about a man on death row. If I had called you on the phone can you honestly say that you could have enthralled me with convo? It’s hard to compete with dead writers but it’s worth a shot isn’t it? So when you call you better have something to say.
We waste energy, we waste words, we waste time and I don’t want to. I swear it’s nothing personal – I just like being quiet sometimes. I need to be quiet most times. Leave me a message telling me it’s important and I will call you back.
Leave me a message that you just wanted to hear my voice and I might call you back but if you were just bored or wanted a distraction from your responsibilities, most likely I won’t. Just know if I see your name and number and we have a bond between us, I’m thinking of you too. I’m having that conversation inside, and sending you love and support. Out of sight, out of mind? I don’t think so.