Saturday, December 6, 2008

"One ringy-dingy" -- Ernestine the Telephone Operator from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"

I cannot tell you how little time I spend on the phone. I rarely...and I mean rarely...ever make a phone call. It has to be desperation or a life-threatening emergency to get me to initiate a phone call. Just ask my family. Ask my friends. I can't remember the last time I called a friend. It was months ago, that I'm sure of. And if anyone calls me, I'm to-the-point and ready to get off. I am not a chit-chatter. I have a hard enough time keeping up with face-to-face conversations during the day, let alone over a telephone wire -- or cable -- or however phone calls come in to a home anymore. I barely know how to make a call on our cell phone. I call no one at nite. By the end of my days I'm too brain-dead to think straight, let alone carry on a coherent conversation. I love Caller ID. It helps make my life less complicated. why an entry about my aversion to telephones? Well, I guess it comes from a blog entry I read where the person wrote about leaving her phone off the hook and running around her house doing some chores while the other person at the end of the line talked away. How many people that?? Years ago a friend of mine told me how one of her sisters used to do the same thing while this sister was living with her family in her mom's house. If she answered the phone and her mom was out and it was one of her mom's more talkative lady friends, J would put the phone down on the kitchen counter and go about loading the dishwasher, folding laundry....whatever....and come back every few minutes to say, "Uh-huh" into the receiver before putting the phone down again and going on to another task. The lady friends weren't aware she did this, but even so. I mean, how rude. Even if these women could go on forever without skipping a beat or barely taking a breath...why, I'd be mortified if I knew someone was doing that to me while I was talking.

I used to be a phone talker. My best friend Lizzee who's been a part of my life since I was 14 can attest to that. We used to spend hours on the phone together. I'd even play entire Beatles albums over the phone to her when one of my older brothers would buy a new one. When I was a young mom, my telephone was my sanity-saver. I had several other stay-at-home mom friends I'd talk with on an almost daily basis. Then, in the mid-80's, I got a job as a secretary/receptionist for an industrial plumbing and steam supply company and it was my responsibility to answer 8 lines on the telephone. And keep straight who was calling for which salesman. Plus keep up on Accounts Payable for that store and 5 other branches. Do the paperwork for shipping and receiving. Type up all the correspondence for the company president and sales staff. Do insurance and filing. And getting change for any cash sales the warehouse people did. Plus look up and write down parts numbers on every invoice that came thru for the data entry people to enter in to computers. All the while juggling these 8 lines that I grew to hate with a passion. If I tried to take a bathroom break it was like asking for the world to get anyone to answer the phone for me while I was gone for 5 minutes. Therein came my loathing for phones of any size, shape, style, or color.

But even so...again...even with my short-and-sweet phone conversations, I at least give the other caller the courtesy of listening to them. Unless it's a telemarketer. Those I hang up on.


Alaine said...

I don't like to talk on the phone much anymore either. I think my mom is the only person I can talk to for any length of time. I used to stay up ALL night talking to my friends and boyfriends in highschool. And I agree about the caller ID. I rarely answer my phone anymore. And when I do I know who it is so I don't have to deal with telemarketers much. And if I happen to pick up and I say "hello" and I don't get an instant reply, I hang up :)
I'd much rather do my talking in person.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Phone chatting is for the young. One day we all seem to realize that little is said in a phone conversation, and getting off the phone is often awkward so it's easier not to call in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I hate talking on the phone and still have never owned a cell. But I am starting to feel like I should get one -- for emergencies only. And really, the worst thing about phones now is their portability, so we all get to listen to the vacuous, one-sided personal conversations of others in public.

Melissa B. said...

I'm not much of a phone-talker, either. Or a TV-watcher, although I adore Lily Tomlin, & remember Ernestine quite fondly. Don't forget Sx3 today!

Sheri said...

I agree completely about phones--hate them! Yet, everywhere I go I see folks talking on their cells. Who are they talking to and what are they talking about? What is so darned important that it has to be discussed while driving, while in the elevator, in the grocery store or in a movie theater? Hang up and engage in real life!