Phone Lapse

22 Nov

I don’t know what happened.

There used to be a time when I could talk to my friends all day, every day at school, then come home, pick up the phone and talk the whole evening away to those same friends. No subject was taboo or too little to be discussed. We’d conference call so nobody felt left out. And when we ran out of things to say, we’d park ourselves in front of the TV and channel surf for something interesting to talk about.

You know this blog? Well, multiply it by a hundred or so with a lot more personal information thrown in. That’s what it was like. All day. Every day. On the phone.

The phone was an essential ingredient of the entire exercise. It allowed us to multitask while we gabbed and it did so without hurting anybody’s feelings. I mean, if you and I were having a conversation and, say, I suddenly brought out a bottle of nail polish, you’d either think I was incredibly rude or wonder if it was part of some convoluted seduction routine engineered just so to show off my lovely feet. Whereas it could well be that my nails just needed some polish.

Actually, come to think of it, I think I did once paint my feet at a party but there were extenuating circumstances and yes, my nails really did need a coat of paint. Immediately. Anyway, nobody noticed. :mrgreen:

But as I was saying, now imagine that same scenario but with a phone. Do you know I’m painting my nails? No. So does it bother you? I don’t think so. Similarly, you can fix yourself a sandwich, do your homework, watch TV, listen to music, flip through a magazine, maybe even sit through a parental lecture with a phone attached to your ear and nobody has to know.

Please note, the last depends upon the type of parent involved. In my household it remains a fond dream but theoretically, it could work. Try at your own risk.

Anyway, so then something happened. I don’t know what caused it but all of a sudden I couldn’t stand being on the phone for longer than a couple of minutes at a time.

I guess this is not such a big problem for people who live isolated lives but the thing here is, I don’t. I have the sort of parents who call me everyday no matter where I am or what I’m doing to just check in and shoot the breeze (you think I’m exaggerating but that’s because you don’t know them so I forgive you); I have friends who can talk for hours about absolutely nothing at all and when they’re unable to use their voice, they’ll send long, detailed text messages about nothing in particular (dude, it’s an art! I asked my fingers to try some of that action and they told me to fuck off); I even attract chatty telemarketers.

[Okay, so the last is a problem that I have created for myself but listen, I know people who used to do that stuff part time and I just can’t bring myself to be rude to them when I know the lives they lead for all the glory of a minimum wage. I’ll hang up on them but never rudely. And I won’t hide from you that that approach has been known to backfire.]

So… phones. Can’t stand them. Two minutes into the conversation, I really want to hang up. Really, really want to hang up. This never happens face to face or through any other medium. I have not lost the ability to sit down and talk for hours or IM. But the phone? Is no longer my friend.

And when you add the fact that I’m a born procrastinator (could be a fancy way of saying I’m incredibly lazy), you can just imagine the communication breakdown. Especially since we live in an age when everybody seems to be attached at the hip to their phone. Seriously, this phone dependency has long passed mere addiction stage.

But consider this – I had this horrible moment a few years ago when I kept postponing a phone call that I meant to make and that person died while I was trying to psyche myself into placing that call. I felt like scum. She wasn’t sitting by the phone, waiting for my call or anything, but she was a wonderful lady who’d been pretty sweet to me as a child and I liked her very much. She was in my city and the least I could have done was call her up a time or two. It would have been the polite, kind… nice thing to do.

But I didn’t. And she died. It was not a cause-and-effect situation. Still, I didn’t make the effort when it might have counted. So did I learn my lesson?

What do you think? I learnt it for about a second and then I went back to my wicked ways.

However, this week I received two phone calls and I enjoyed them very much. They both lasted an hour each and were about this, that and the other. Nothing very important. Just old friends, calling to see if I was still alive or if I’d crawled under a rock somewhere and died of peaceful neglect. It inspired me to call another friend and see how he was doing. And then another friend.

So am I over my phone phobia? Not really. But it was nice to get in touch with people and just hang. And do my nails.

Happy Thanksgiving. Go call a friend.


Posted by on November 22, 2007 in Life, Personal


9 responses to “Phone Lapse

  1. Debasish

    November 22, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    It’s the cell phone. Initially calls were costly so subconsciously we got used to having tiny little 1min 59sec conversations. 🙂

  2. desigirl

    November 22, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I tell you why you got the phobia – you got sick of it cos you were on it from dawn to dusk, save for poop breaks (one hopes so!). so it is understandable that it makes u go ICK! now.

    ps: u never called me when I was in town (or nearabouts) but i didn’t croak cos of it. is there a moral to this? nah!

  3. OrangeJammies

    November 22, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Happy Turkey Day, girl. The one thing I’m thankful for this year is stumbling across your blog. 😀 Serious!

  4. ruhi

    November 22, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Hahaha…reminds me of myself 🙂 Im without a cell phone since the past couple of days and it’s been blisss. Funnily, I blogged about this part of my life a couple of days back and the post’s titled “On being Disconnected from the World”.

    I can’t stand long calls. More importantly, I can’t stand people who take long calls.

  5. Amrita

    November 23, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Debasish – well that explains them but what about me? 😦

    DG – No! I carried it into the bathroom with me…… okay, TMI and j/k.
    Hey, I could call you now! I’d say hi and make plans to meet you and hang up the phone double quick.
    PS – i’m trying to cure myself of my smiley addiction but it’s tough! Boo hoo!

    OJ – you’re gonna turn my head!

    Ruhi – Lol, do I? I haven’t had a cell phone for about two years now and I love it. It was initially a pain to hunt for change when I needed to make a call on the street but at least I can go incommunicado when I want to!

  6. headmistress

    November 23, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    it feels like this is something that is coming over everyone. I used to gabble on the phone for aeons, racking astronomical phone bills.then, the phone still felt like an abstraction, you could paint your nails, pick your nose, loll in a bath… now though, it feels like a phonecall is too physical – actually dealing with someone’s voice, their coughs and sighs, and splutters – when it’s so easy to just text a string of letters…
    but sometimes still, these semi-physical moments are lovely… a lull in the conversatiom hearing someone sigh. Especially at night – nocturnal phone calls are the best – when everything, even the streets outside are deserted, and you have to practically whisper into the phone.

  7. Amey

    November 24, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    I am as lazy as the best of them when it comes to calling and returning calls (ask my parents and friends if you want). I think on my part, it comes out of watching minutes tick, while you can opt for free options.

    Forget it, at the end of it all, give me a bluetooth headset and I am good 😀

    BTW, it is good to see how the “22 things” tag is spreading over the network. I can see the guys everywhere praising my name soon.

  8. Amrita

    November 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    HM – somebody’s got a boyfriend, I can tell 😀 I do love those, yes!

    Amey – LOL, not the ones who’re a little, ahem, challenged, surely!

  9. Amey

    November 29, 2007 at 1:06 am

    If I read that correctly, even the challenged ones will get something out of the other questions to hit it off 😉

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