coffee

Phone poll

Okay, I need to know how far out of the norm my phone neurosis is.

Poll #836450 Let us discuss Alexander Graham Bell

Picking up the phone and dialing it:

Impossible.
1(5.9%)
Pretty darn horrible.
7(41.2%)
I can if it's important, like for pizza.
4(23.5%)
I call people when I feel like it.
5(29.4%)
My cellphone is implanted in my the bones of my face.
0(0.0%)
My secretary handles that for me.
0(0.0%)

Listening to answering machine messages:

Delete 'em all unheard.
2(11.8%)
Finger hovering over the delete button.
11(64.7%)
Huh? I listen to 'em and call people back, like normal people do.
2(11.8%)
I keep the tape archives.
1(5.9%)
My secretary handles that for me.
1(5.9%)
Tags:
Well, thank goodness for you! I hate the phone. Hate it, hate it, hate it. And I have this odd notion that it is a convenience for ME. Not for others, for ME. Ergo, if someone calls and I don't feel like answering? I don't.

You can imagine my delight when my job required me to get a cellphone. Ha! Joke's on them, I frequently forget to turn it on :)
Um, I don't have an answering machine, and I seem to be the secretary here, so.... Oh, and I like never use my cell phone. What can I say, I live in the dark ages - I don't even have cable.
It all depends on context, for me. I'd much rather deal with people face-to-face or in email, as a general rule, but there are exceptions. Sometimes I need to hear someone's voice, and they're not physically available. I have no trouble calling the people I'm closest to: my best friend, my parents. But even good friends who I'm not used to calling, I won't. It's less about the phone itself and more about not being sure how they'll react. Not wanting to bother people, etc.
Aha. I think you're onto something there. Calling the husband: no trouble whatsoever. Calling the pizza place: must rehearse call in head before picking up phone, because I am convinced I will screw it up and the pizza guy will laugh at me..
people were meant to communicate in writing, dammit!
Well, okay, not when they are four. Or trying to get dinner done, or it's an emergency.
I used to leap to the phone when it rang, instantaneous Pavlovian attention-lock. Ridiculous. I got over that in the nine years when the spouse unit worked for a sociopath who called at literally all hours, and the powerless grad students and later powerless post-docs had to take it. Grr.

I loved living in London when the phone in my room was too expensive to use the thing except for a professional thing or once a week calls from home. Brits then were very terse because calls were so costly; it was polite to be brief.

Sadly, my business now requires that I use the phone. I tell students I greatly prefer e-mail because I will not answer if I have my hands full of torch, or hot glass, or am trying to set a stone or am lost in an engraving. I do call back.

In the past two years the phone has saved my life a couple of times -- not the thing itself, but being able to contact someone who would calm me out of a very bad decision or coax me back out of the darkness. Of course this meant I had to call them, and usually I couldn't. Amazingingly enough, that's right when they would call me. I do love that the machine lets me chose who I want to speak to if necessary.

Cell phone? Uh-uh. Cable? Nope. TV? Nada. We do have the appliance, but it is strictly slaved to the DVD machine. I adore DVDs. "Pause" and "Mute" are such gifts.

So, would y'all say that we are trying to get a higher ratio of signal to noise in our lives? And that we truly value quiet and privacy and the right to time our interactions so they don't interfere with our prefered activities? Yup. A pattern consistant with writers, and creative folks in general. I must take control of my environment to create a place for repose, for stillness, because that's where the small, quiet voice of the daemon speaks.
Re: people were meant to communicate in writing, dammit!
Amen! Writing, yes. I don't even have a phone in my cube at the moment. (I just moved to one with more natural light and less opportunity for people to sneak up on me.... Our company prefers to get the phone switch guys in to do several activations of plugs at once. So I have to wait until a new guy gets hired or something.) But the only thing I use it for is seeing if my little lad got to school or home ok.

And he has my cell phone (turned off, in his locker all day). I thought about getting a second phone, but I'm liking it this way. Everything forwards to work, so I get messages I need. When I walk by the old desk and see the light flashing.

I did keep one message recently-- my son, describing very earnestly how he had intervened with some kids who were going to beat up another kid, and the very wise and appropriate steps he took "to make sure he (the other boy) stayed safe." What a guy.

I am kind of liking the new iChat software we have on the new laptops here. Except for the video chat-- my boss is Way too enamoured of such things.....
Hob
Re: people were meant to communicate in writing, dammit!
People were meant to communicate face-to-face, with a complete set of body language cues, facial expression cues, voice tone cues, plus the word stuff. We are clever apes, though, so we invent complicated languages and writing and tools and get around the face-to-face requirement most of the time.

I hate the screaming interruption of the telephone. I hate that I can be talking to someone in a store face-to-face, and be interrupted by a more-important phone call. (WTF is with that priority system?) I hate that I can be deep in concentration and flow-state when the phone goes off.

Outgoing... I have no idea why it's so freaky. I have no childhood traumas to point to.
that priority system is called "bad manners"
You are quite right, we are meant to communicate face to face under ideal conditions. But failing that, writing is pretty effective, too, particularly combined with images [NOT video conferencing, but illustrations].
I completely hate it when I am with someone and they take a call during a conversation. In a store it is a reason to walk out. We saw a couple of parents out to dinner with their teenaged son one night and the folks took and made no less than three calls apiece, one after another. The kid looked desolate and picked at his food. I looked over at him and said, "Hey, we'll talk to you, wanna join us?" and he looked up to give me the saddest smile but said nothing.
I have Call Waiting, but will not pick up a beep if I am the one who initiated the call to my party; the other caller can leave a voice message. If I am expecting a call and get a different call, I tell the unexpected caller that we may be briefly interrupted and apologize in advance.
Remember in Robert Heinlein's book _Friday_ when he identifies the first symptom of a civilation in fatal decline as the death of courtesy? We are there, I reckon. But I shall carry on being as polite as I can, just for sheer cussedness and because it is what I believe to be the right thing to do.
Re: that priority system is called "bad manners"
Cellphones are the death of manners.

Talking on the phone instead of talking to the people with you.
Blaring your ringtone at helpless bystanders.
Weaving in your lane like a drunkard while you clutch the phone to your face.

Or maybe it's just that society hasn't had time to decide how good manners should accommodate cellphones. How long did it take to adjust to telephones in the first place?
what an interesting question....
"How long did it take to adjust to telephones in the first place?"
I just had to go poking around to find this out.
Before WWII, residential lines were shared by up to 20 parties and calls were brief and public, since anyone could listen in, although this was considered extremely bad manners. After the war, people wanted more privacy, but it wasn't until the 1970s that party lines entirely disappeared. So here's a profound twist in the technology: at first we had no privacy, and wanted it. Now we've had privacy for three generations or so, and we assume that calls are, by nature, private. But with universal accessibility via cellphones, suddenly the private appears in environments where it never occurred before, and half of the conversation is once again very public. There are people [esp. teens] who flaunt this because they *want* folks to know who they are talking to. I think there are certain business types who do, too. So the problem becomes not the privacy of the caller, but the privacy of those in the caller's environment. We have been conditioned to feel guilty for listening, but in this case the cell phone user puts us in a position where we can't avoid it. We want them to speak more quietly, or take their conversation elsewhere so we do not have to filter out the noise or feel badly about hearing what we do not want to hear.
Then there is the issue of driving. That is a whole 'nother thing on account of being potentially fatal.
For a hilarious, fierce satiric remark on all this, download Cheryl Wheeler's "It's the Phone" [on "Defying Gravity"] from iTunes. The melody comes from all the classical ring tones that folks use, and she's not a fan of the technology.
Oh-- I should add-- I was in the "pretty darn horrible" camp until a summer job for a phone market research company cured me of it. But the first few days, calling perfect (often perfectly beastly and hostile) strangers, were pretty traumatic. On the up side, making business calls doesn't kill me now, and I can fall back on the professionalism and other internal skills I learned then when I have to make unplesant calls to people I'd much rather not talk to.

When do we get to hear about Your neuroses, Madame Antenna?

Hob
If I let myself think about making phone calls, I can't do it. Sometimes literally; sometimes I manage to if it's important enough to me. Sometimes my husband will do it, though he also hates it. He's very social and outgoing, so when he confessed to me that he hated it too, it occurred to me that maybe this was more common than I'd thought.

But I can call him any time, and he doesn't hesitate to call me. And if I don't give myself time to think about the call, I can call strangers. But I will never ever be able to be a journalist.

I hate listening to phone messages. I am secretly convinced that some day I will hear the world's worst news via one.
I do actually listen to the messages on my voicemail. Sort of. Usually. I often delete messages unheard from my landline answering machine because those that aren't from telemarketers are probably going to upset me to no really good end.

Like you, i have to rehearse my lines for pizza orders or doctor's appointments. I *hate* it when I need to return a phone message from the reference line at work. Calling my colleauges doesn't bug me as much as it used to, but I still need to take a second to decide what I'm going to say.
Heh. "Sort of. Usually." means you're doing better than me. Periodically I just clear out my work voicemail without listening to anything. I mean, the message says to send me email instead, so....
I HATE calling on the phone. It's a weird phobia with me. I realize I tend to be an anxious person anyway, but there's something about the phone that irks me. Only calling out, though. I don't mind answering my home phone. Don't like answering work stuff, though.

I can't even order pizza....it's just weird.
Hrrrm. Mutual telephone anxieties. It does explain a lot, doesn't it? Bless the gods of the Eeenternets that we can communicate at all.
In this household there's been near fights over who has to call just to place a delivery order.
Both of you guys too, huh? The hiptop is a freakin' lifesaver. Email at all times! IM at all times!
Yep. Now you know why I'm so happy with the Heepy. I'd never communicate with anyone otherwise. Hate, hate, hate the phone and will often resort to solitaire when chatty friends force me to do penance.
Online, is another story. I talk too much, if anything, and have no problem who knows me or reads what I write. I think it's because there's no time pressure for a reply. I can say what I want, when I'm ready to say it.