My Love / Hate Relationship with the Phone

I hit my babysitter in the head with the phone on the day that Elvis Presley died. I remember it vividly; well, I should, that’s the first and last time I ever did violence to someone. (Well, to another girl, but those slapped male faces and drinks over one or two male heads will have to await another day.) It was the day Elvis died, or maybe the day after . . . but still. I was sitting on the counter in the kitchen, and she was yapping at me about something or other, but all I could do was stare at the tv because they were talking about Elvis being dead. When she flipped the television off, I grabbed the phone and bopped her on the head with it. This made her very unhappy. In fact, it set off a whole chain of unhappiness that circled its way back to me. I went to bed very unhappy that night.

That was the beginning of my love/hate relationship with the telephone. As I got older, I went through the teen years just like any other girl–with a phone stuck to my head and that bouncy curly phone cord (remember those?) all pulled straight in places and bent wonky in others. My friends and I would sit on the floor in a circle around the phone, and we’d take turns calling the “foxes,” and asking them if they “liked” us. It was very tense and exciting, so we giggled a lot. And ate chocolate. I think I may also have engaged in a few phone pranks in my day–you know the ones: “Do you have running water? . . . better catch it before it gets away! giggle giggle thunk” (that last is from the phone dropping on the carpet because we’re so giddy at our own wit to hold onto the phone and replace it in the cradle).

And then phones were ringing and buzzing and beeping and flashing at work, and I didn’t care if I never answered another phone. That was the dead phone period of my life right before the cell phone became popular. It wasn’t always, of course, and I held out to the end before I broke down and got one. I don’t think I’m a fan of change to begin with, and then the idea that I could be reached all day every day no matter where I was. Yuck. Not my favorite concept ever. But I got one. For safety. Right? I mean what if my car breaks down (and believe me, this was a very real possibility back then)? Or what if I need my way back then roommate to pick up some Cheez-its on her way home? Very important stuff.

Once I had the cell phone, all bets were off, I ran up the most extreme bills and cried over them until they turned to paper paste. Then I got wise and started turning it off unless I really needed it. And that’s pretty much how it’s stayed to this day. Off. I do have different ring tones for people I know, but as they either know I’m not going to answer or that the phone will be off, no one ever calls, so I never hear my fancy ring tones. Or I’ll forget to turn the sound back on after I go to a meeting or whatever. And it’ll stay off for days, sometimes until the battery runs out. I don’t notice because I only remember to turn it off if it starts making those noises it makes when people call. I’m good with text messages, though. Well, when I get them I respond right away; I just may not get them for a couple weeks, depending on the state of my phone (off, on silent, battery dead, plugged into the wall and forgotten).

I’m not like other women. I don’t really like to talk on the phone unless there is some reason for doing so: to thank someone for a marvelous gift, for example, or if there’s national news of some sort or if I’m watching a tv show and know that someone else is and we talk during commercials or if someone died or if I need a pizza. I talk to my parents on the phone more than anyone else, and as much as I love them to pieces, I just don’t have much to say on the phone: “I’ve been working and blogging. You?” And that’s about it. Sad. I don’t know if it’s all connected to my early memories of being forced to talk to everyone on holidays: oh, do talk to Aunt Maybelle and Cousins Tom, Dick, and Harry, and don’t you want to say “hi” to your second cousin on your dad’s mom’s side? Ick. No. I don’t. In fact, I still don’t. Maybe those memories keep me from being normal and enjoying talking on the phone? Or maybe it’s a curse visited on me by that long ago babysitter?

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29 thoughts on “My Love / Hate Relationship with the Phone

  1. Oh I am so with you on this and do the same thing! The only time I am motivated to talk on the phone is if I am dating someone, and even then I still want to hear their words written, txt, email, or some such sort. Maybe I just like the having it in black and white when I am ready to read it or listen to it. I have like thousands of rollover minutes just waiting, piling up, for the day I decide to use the phone. Good blog.

  2. As we revela things about ourselves, we become more and more alike. I can go days without talking onthe phone, unless someone calls my house. I have to charge my cell because i have let it drain onits own. Like you, I used to talk to my mom all the time. She was easy to talk to, about everything. That is waht moms are for. Yu are not alone in the phone thing. Sometimes i think my phone is here just so the phone solicitors will have someone to call.

  3. If you’re going to call me for dinner, OK but don’t call me late. If someone wants to call and tell me their dead that’s OK too.

  4. Okay so…Cheez-its? My wonderful BBB…my RLF….my BFF….Cheez-its? First its oysters and now its Cheez-its? Cheez-its? Obviously, I am in shock. Quick someone get a blanket and lay my down in the safety position! Cheez-its?

    So you heard Evlis died and you hit your paper sitter over the head with a phone. I don’t even know where to begin with this one! Cheez-its? Elvis was bloated, icky and weird marrying such a young girl…Cheez-its? And I didn’t like his music! Cheez-its?

    Phone are straight from hell, they cost to much and make you accessible at all times. Ooohhh..I remember the phones with the party lines when I was a kid. You would have to listen to the number of rings to see whether the call was for you or not. It meant you always new when someone else was getting a call and it meant that if you were sly enough and quiet enough you could listen in on the conversation…Cheez-its? But of coarse I never did that…yeah right and the pope is baptist as well…but I bet he doesn’t like Cheez-its!

    Okay so from the response you all know that I hate phones and Cheez-its! ohhh…oysters too…what other horrible secrets does our Fuzzy have hiding behind closed doors. Nest she will tell us that she like Wheat Thins!

    Oh and Lisa…who are you kidding about the phone things…we talk for hours…litterally!

  5. I think on balance my scales tilt more towards hate than love when it comes to phones. Two reasons: First i work in a government department call-centre, so I’m surrounded by the damned things all day long. The calls into and out of our centre are quite different and more involved than many call-centres. We deal with claims to Benefits (that’s the equivalent of Welfare, I think).
    The other reason is something of a crusade of mine: the destruction of the English language by TXT-speak, that bloody irritating shorthand invented by cell-phone fanatics, but is now spreading to become a general malaise affecting all walks of life. I refuse to use TXT-speak even when sending an SMS message.
    But apart from that, they’re ok LOL

  6. Pris, oh, that’s true; I do talk on the more if I’m dating someone. Hell, I even like it then. Go figure. Huggs.

    Spartonmom, well, given that we very ironically had this very conversation on the phone (lmao) . . . yes, I know what you mean about it, though, and I’m always happy to learn what we have in common (and those things we don’t, too!). Huggs.

    lmao, Heyman, my mom says that about not caring what you call her, just don’t call her late for dinner. Come to think of it, I say that, too! Huggs.

    Oh, BBB, and you wonder why I picked at you about that map!! lmao. Yeppers, I like Cheez-its; I also like cheese goldfish, squirty cheese in a can, and . . . well, just about any kind of cheese done any way at all. Can’t get enough of it!! Huggs, Amber.

    I am on the very same page, Mitch, when it comes to that text speak (see, I won’t even write it in text speak!! lol). I wish that no one used it at all and think it’s yet another drain on our language (we’ve had plenty, so this isn’t likely to be the last). I didn’t know your job, but I can relate, being surrounded by ringing phones really does change your attitude toward them. I’ve wondered, too, if talking on the phone is gendered, but based on the comments so far, it seems no one likes to talk on the phone. Hmmmmm.

  7. Ohooh…yes, Spary Cheese…Bingo…Love it!

    Oh sorry, this blog was about phones wasn’t it! Yes, when I was a girl, I remember hitting the babysitter in the head with phone when I heard Elvis was dead…oh..dear…that’s your blog not mine! Cheese its?

  8. ummm…that was suppose to be Spray Cheese not Spary cheese! And my ramblings are funny only in my head sometimes..this may be one of them..I will get off this blog now and stop hogging the comments, I have nothing useful to add!

  9. lmao, Amber! I have the same thing as far as thinking something is so hilarious when I think it and then it not translating well to flat text. No worries! I think that cheese apary and spray cheese are just wondermous. Just like you. Only you’re way better than spray cheese. Of course.

    (see, that’s funny as hell in my head)

  10. OK amber We talk for hours on the computer, not he phone. there is a difference. I dont hav eto hold onto a phone, and i can play spider at eh same time. and you dont like ‘cheese its. RU nuts? I see your just not a cheese person. you dont like Brei, you dont like Cheese its, but you will eat fake spray cheese. its not CHEESE. SORRY FOR TAKIING UP YOUR COMMENTS SPACE fUZZY. i just had to say somethng to spary cheese lady

  11. I hate the phone. I have caller Id so I dont have to answer if I don’t want to. The only person I really talk to on the phone is my mother. I loved it this summer camping. I think not having a phone bugging me was one of my husband and my favorite things about camping. Peace and quite without people calling wanting your advice or telemarketers. As for cheese I am not a big fan. I only like a few different kinds. Not a fan of spray cheese at all .

  12. Holy poo! I write one of the best starting sentences of all time ever, and all you people care about is the throw away “cheezits” comment. Unbelievable. Pearls before swine, I say. LMAO Amber, you are WAY better than spray cheese, promise. Spartonmom, you can take up all the room in my comments you want or need, you have full squatters’ rights here. Always. Besides, glad to see you get the anti-cheese among us; they should be run out of town. Maybe with feathers and tar? Okay, very silly at the mo’. Hope this translates well because my face is starting to hurt from all the smiling I’m doing reading and writing all this!! Huggs you two.

    Bert, I do the same thing with caller id if I bother to get the phone at all, it’s usually only to check to see who’s calling. It’s usually my parents, and I usually answer in that case. :)) Telemarketers? Forget that. I never take those or the “blank” calls, either, because they seem to always be telemarketers, too. Or at least they were years ago! LOL Spray cheese is okay on crackers; it wouldn’t be my first choice (or second or third or . . . well, you get the picture). Huggs Bert!

  13. Oh boy Fuzzy,
    I don’t like phones either… Many times if I’m not feeling well or busy doing other things I let the answering machine pick up, and if it’s for me {seldom} one can hear on the message, “Gloria, are you there, pick up” LOLOL

    I’m not much for the other girly pastime either {retail therapy} and prefer to shop from catalogues really. Great blog post! @@ hugs, G. xo

  14. Hi Fuzzy,
    I don’t like phones either. I look at them as being a necessity and definately not a form of entertainment. I like to get to the point and that’s it. We have caller ID and I admit that I screen my calls. Roger’s dad calls almost every night to chat with him and I let Roger answer it. I am just not in to polite chit chat on the phone.
    I always thought my reasoning came from having to take calls at work. It seems too much like an interruption to me. I do have a cell phone, however. I only use it for practical purposes and find it very handy at times.
    Great blog & very well written!

  15. I have to say that I’m surprised to learn that I’m not so abnormal as I thought in this not liking to talk on the phone thing! Yay!!

    Gloria, thanks so much for your kind words, and I have to confess I usually let the machine get the phone, too. I don’t know; it’s just not something I care about or want to do, so I avoid it. Sigh. Shopping, however, that’s a different story!!
    Huggs to you.

    Awww, thanks Nancy; that’s so good of you to say about my blog post. I like the way you’ve said that about distinguishing between necessity and entertainment; that’s perfectly said and wish I’d thought of it!! Huggs.

  16. Hei Fuzz.

    I have me mobile with me anywhere and everywhere me goes the phone goes with me; except at work my private phone is on silent. I have two mobiles and an ordinary phone at the work anyway!

    I do my talking rather short n sharp unless it is something special my phone bills are only 25-30 euros/month because I use the textmessage facility on the same as I have 1000 messages free each month on this deal. Me record is 500+!!
    Great blog. Like your style Gal in writing n blogging! BRILL, so tis. Rii xx

  17. I also hate phones, I become a totally different person, we had our phones late because of the remote area we were living in. Chat I can do a long time, but when it comes talking I am become reserved :). I liked your teasing, “Do you have running water? . . . better catch it before it gets away! giggle giggle thunk” , I am gonna try this on my friends just to loosen them up 🙂

  18. Hey Fuzzy,

    Seems like I am late with this post and everyone else has beaten me to it but what the hell.

    I like Cheeslets, don’t know if you guys get them over in your neck of the wood’s. They are just so lush. Love the Brie as well. Anyway enough about cheese!

    I am pretty much like you and the only person that ever calls me on my home phone is my Mum come to think if it she is the only person who texts me on my mobile phone too. I have my mobile switched off most of the way and only switch it on in the evening because I know that my Mum might text me. If she has something more important to tell me or to arrange something with me then she wll call the landline. I pay for free calls in the evenings and weekends but seldom really use it. Not really sure why I bother. I have caller display as well and let the answer machine get the call if I don’t reconise the number!

    I use the phone a lot at work as well as I work for the local government and its nice to escape that ringing tone when you get home.

    Glad I have the phone line though else I wouldn’t be able to talk to you guys with my wireless network connection so have to thank the phone for that one.

    Hugs to you Fuzzy and Marm wants to say kjkjaldak7lkjfkja-23-=cvl to Banbury. Think she is telling me off for not letting her out as tomorrow is D day! x

  19. 500+ Rii? That’s amazing. I’ve not come close to that, but I do prefer texting to talking on the phone (unless it’s something complicated or nuanced, of course). And I’m so proud to hear you say that you like my blogging style and writing; coming from YOU that is quite the compliment indeed! And I feel the same about you and your blogging style (as you know. Smiles). I confess that I have been known to use my cell for the alarm function, and I’ve actually programmed reminders into my calendar for my shows (Supernatural, of course!). LOL Huggs to you Amazing Rii xx

    I’m not big on chat, either, Chris. I hardly ever sign in to messenger, and when I do, it’s always as invisible (so what’s the point?). I don’t know what my problem is; maybe I’m just anti-social. But then I LOVE blogging and all my blog friends (and am pleased as punch to number you among them!!) :))

    Can’t be late, Snuggles!! Heck, we keep these things on here forever, with tag clouds to tag ’em, so no such thing! :)) OOoh, and all best tomorrow for Marm. I had Banbury at the vet today and thought about her!! Banbury’s got a thyroid condition and a (probably) related heart murmer, so we had his blood work done, and some general groping (the vet calls it an exam). All’s well we think, will hear tomorrow on his blood. Best to Marm, though it’s such a regular thing, it’s hardly worth worrying about. Huggs Snuggles!! You’re awesome.

  20. WOW!! REading all the comments was a trip!
    HaHa…I still don’t have a cell phone!!…I think of it like Tuperware parties…gonna see how long I can go without actually becoming an active participant.
    Great BLog!! Thank you for sharing.

  21. LOL, Rainy, yeah, we’re quite the group, aren’t we? It’s so nice of you to stop by; please feel free to take a peek around and see what else this wise and wacky band of friends of mine have been chattering about (I wouldn’t trade them, of course!). Take care :))

  22. Up until the last couple of years, I could have lived without and been very happy doing so, a phone! In fact, I went nearly the entire decade of the 80s without phones. I loved it! I just lived farther out the than phone lines went in those days. I 1990, when I got married, that was apart of the bargain. She came out to live in the backwoods with me and I would get a phone. It was worth it!

    Now of course, there are no phone lines. I mostly use my Nextel Walkit-Talkie, but my cell is actually my home phnone number too. I picked up DSL and dropped all land-line phone service. It was actually sad when I looked in the new phone book the other day and I wasn’t there.

  23. ONLY because you’re a real ranger do you get the pass on the Nextel thing from hell. As you know, I hate those things except in the hands of actual professionals who need them, aka you. And can I just say, you are the only person I know who checks the phone book for their own name (or at least admits to it). Not that this comes up in casual conversation. LOL Huggs.

  24. I couldn’t picture you slapping anyone! That image just does not work for me. I’ve seen some big cell bills in my time. I had a roommate who committed suicide and I got so many calls in the weeks that followed I had a thousdand dollar bill. I gave up my cell and I like it that way.

  25. LOL, Wyatt, I think I was about 11 or 12 at the time, so that’s not really representative of my behavior! teehee Sorry to hear about your roommate, too. I snagged the pic of the phone off the internet, I’m afraid, so it’s not mine, but it IS cool looking, huh? Huggs

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