I have a very fractious relationship with my phone(s). I need them. I have to have them. I hate them. To me, the phone is a machine. A tool. An instrument to be controlled by me.
To other people, the phone is a companion. A good friend on a lonely day. A welcome break.
When the phone rings at my house, I don’t feel compelled to get out of the tub, off the toilet, out of bed to answer it. My mother, on the other hand, will leap hurdles (and, at 78 that’s saying something) to get there before it stops ringing.
“Hello?!” Her breathless, cheery greeting is always on the other end no matter what I may be interrupting. “One moment, Mr. President of the United States. The PHONE has rung! Summoned my attention! I will continue our conversation as soon as I have attended to the needs of the person on the line. Yes, daughter?”
How did I spring from these loins? The phone rings at my house, could be the President of the United States, I really don’t give a rat’s hind end. I’m in the tub. If it’s important, he’ll call back. If it’s not important, I really don’t see the need to pursue it.
When the phone rings, nine times out of ten the caller never wonders, “Hey, I bet I just dragged Carolyn off the toilet. Hope she had adequate time to attend to her personal hygiene.” I never hear, “Hey, are you busy? Is this a good time? Have you finished wiping?”
So, I can be in the middle of a Camp David style negotiation with two Heads of State and I’ll get, “Oh, my gosh, you’re not going to believe this! My dog just pooped out a chimmichanga wrapper!”
Back in the ‘pre-answering machine/pre-caller ID’ days, I never knew who was going to call. “Hello, Carolyn. This is your boss. Suzie Slacker just called in sick, so you have to come in and work.” “But I have a house full of guests in from out of town. I’ve been planning this meal for 2 years!” “Listen, Carolyn. Do you WANT to keep your job?” “Uh, yeah…” “Then we’ll see you in ten minutes.”
To me, the jangle of the phone signals Danger, Will Robinson! It’s knee-jerk. I run screaming. The unfortunate side effect of my phone-o-phobe, is that all 798 people who call me regularly take it personally. Carolyn has not returned my call, therefore, Carolyn hates me. Continue reading