Let me start by saying that I love my phone. LOVE it. Seeing as how Google Maps and I are best friends, I’d quite literally be lost without it. I do everything with my phone—take notes, do my banking, keep up with friends and family on Facebook, take pictures, write e-mails, read books, play games, shop on Amazon . . . the list goes on.
What I don’t use my phone for if I can possibly help it? Making phone calls.
I hate talking on the phone. HATE it. I’d rather get a cavity filled. I’d rather ride the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride. I’d rather use a pit toilet. I’d rather . . . nevermind. Just know that I hate phone calls with unbridled passion.
And it’s not just talking to people I don’t know on the phone. That torture is just a given. I almost didn’t even send Pete Carroll my number when he read one of my posts and wanted to call me because . . . well . . . he wanted to call me. But I don’t even call the people I know and love. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to them—I just don’t want to talk to them on the phone.
First of all, there’s the greeting. Let’s say I have to call someone (because why else would I call someone?). “Hi! It’s Annie.” Wait. They know it’s me. They can probably see my number. So now I already feel silly, and I’ve only said three words.
Next comes the phone call start-up small talk. Exactly how long should this go on? “How ARE you?” “I’m great. How are YOU?” “I’m good!”
OMG. A PAUSE. This is where we start the wild ride down Awkwardness Mountain. Is it my turn or your turn? Should I continue with the small talk or is it time to get to the point? I NEED A VISUAL CUE HERE, PEOPLE.
Inevitably, the pause feels to me like it’s been five full minutes, while in reality it’s probably been a whole 1.3 seconds, so I start to talk. And then the other person starts to talk at the same time. “Oh, HA HA, sorry!” “What was that?” “No, you go ahead.” OMG, THE AWKWARDNESS.
I’m pretty good at handling an awkward moment face to face. I can even diffuse it quite adeptly, usually. But on the phone, the awkwardness just goes on and on and on. I can feel it flowing out of the phone, into my ear, through my body and back out my mouth again THE WHOLE TIME.
The middle part of a phone call usually gets a little better. Especially if the heavens shine down and give me a person who is a Super Phone Talker on the other end. I have a few friends who are Super Phone Talkers—people who somehow magically carry the whole conversation without dominating it. They are the Michael Jordans and Yo Yo Mas of phone convos, and I’m always in awe of their talents. They’re the few people I don’t mind talking to on the phone.
Everyone else—I’m so sorry. You have to deal with my complete telephone ineptitude.
So, the middle part usually goes okay, but then comes the worst part. For phone haters, wrapping up a phone call is THE. WORST. THING. It’s so awful that sometimes I just keep talking, torturous as it is, just so that I don’t have to deal with the inevitably awkward wrap-up.
“Okaaaay. Welllll. I’d better get going.” Why? Where do I have to get going to? Or, “Okaaaay. Welllll. I’m gonna let you go . . .” Ugh. It all just seems so contrived and awkward and weird and awkward.
Have I mentioned the awkwardness?
Because it’s not over yet. Ooooh, no. That’s just the lead-in to the wrap-up. Now comes the wrap-up small talk, which is worse than the start-up small talk because WHEN DOES IT STOP? “It was nice talking to you!” “Yeah, you, too!” “We should really do this more.” “Yes, we should!” “Give my love to your family, okay?” “I will! You do the same.”
Okaaaay. Welllll. One of us is going to have to actually say goodbye here. I can’t just keep chatting as I walk away and then give a little wave as I hop into my car. We have to formally, verbally end this thing. Is it going to be me or you? How do we know? Why is this so hard??
Finally, someone says it. If the pause lasts longer than 1.3 seconds, it’s probably going to be me because I’ll think it’s been five minutes. “Okay, bye.” OMG, awkward. “Bye.”
Seriously, e-mail, texting, and Facebook are the greatest inventions on Earth for us phone haters. All that mumbo jumbo about messaging being less personal, blah blah blah? I don’t think so. I am MUCH better at getting my true thoughts and feelings out in writing than I am in real life. On the phone? Forget it. I’m way too busy trying to manage the awkwardness to actually formulate a deep, coherent thought.
I do think there’s something to be said for hearing someone’s voice, so I’m not opposed to EVER talking on the phone. Then again, I can imagine what their voice sounds like when I read their messages, so nevermind. Remember the good old days before telephones when people just wrote letters? Entire courtships and business deals and treaty agreements were done in writing. There’s nothing magical about the telephone.
Say it with me, fellow phone haters! THERE’S NOTHING MAGICAL ABOUT THE TELEPHONE.
If you love the phone and want to convince me that I’m crazy, I’m willing to discuss it.
Just send me a message and we’ll chat.