Tuesday, February 05, 2008

phonephobia


"hi, my name is heidi and i am afraid of the phone." ha ha ha, you all chuckle good-humourdly as you sit comfortably in your desk chairs, waiting to read the disclaimer. but i assure you, it is true. i am afraid of the phone.


i suppose the fact that i didn't use the phone much as a kid didn't help. in fact, my mom took a picture of the first "official" time i used the phone. i called my grandma and said, "hi" and she asked me a few questions, which i politely answered, then said "okay, goodbye." i was 7 years old. it makes me laugh to think that tristan is barely one year old and the telephone is already one of his favourite "toys."


after that initial phone call to my grandma, i can remember painstakenly dialing (on a rotary phone, mind you) the number of my cousin lisa's house. we called each other up often in the summer and our calls basically involved the same words every time. "do you want to play?" "okay." "your house or mine?" "um, yours." "okay, bye." and off i'd go on my bike to visit her. ah yes, those were the days. simple conversations, no awkward silences, no difficult questions.


by the time i was around 12, i had moved past only the purely necessary play-date phone calls and would call my best friend in the next town to see if it was snowing at her house because it was snowing at mine. then 13 hit. oh dear me, i never saw it coming. i had recently "accidentally" stepped on my purple and turquoise framed glasses, forcing my parents to seriously consider getting me contacts. i had also just discovered the miracle of lipstick, and i had 2 cool friends who used the term "hanging out" instead of "playing together." these two friends, for some strange reason, loved to talk on the phone and they'd often call me up "on the other line" using third party calling so that all three of us could chat together. it was absolutely terrifying. i had no clue what to talk about. i mostly listened to their take on who was going to break up with who and who else had a crush on who. ( i feel like there should be a whom in there, but i've no idea where to put it). when i did open my mouth, it was usually in order to insert my foot. i clearly remember the day when they were chatting about how gorgeous cindy crawford was and one of them asked me, "do you think she is prettier than niki taylor, heidi?" and before i could think of a clever answer, i just blurted out what was going through my head, "who is cindy crawford?" i honestly didn't know, but that was obviously the wrong answer and i didn't live that one down for awhile.


as i grew up, the telephone became more and more necessary. though my parents didn't allow me to date until i was 16, i still had "boyfriends" who called me and whenever they did, i never knew what they expected me to say. "do you want to hang out after school tomorrow?" was a question i could answer. "so....um.....yeah......what are you thinking right now?" was not. though i loathed that horrendous ringing monster, i knew that it was essential if i wanted to maintain my social status. and so i used it as sparingly as possible.


and then God created email. oh! wondrous email! the internet had been around awhile before i set up my first hotmail account and discovered what the web all had to offer, and when i did i couldn't believe that it had taken me SO LONG to use something that could replace that dreaded telephone! i no longer had to call a restaraunt and be put on hold just to ask where they were located. i no longer had to call someone to set up a coffee date and wonder just exactly how to say goodbye. now, we all know that the internet can't really replace having a good old heart to heart on the phone, but it sure is great for all of those short little pointed conversations.


of course, i thought the telephone was the most marvelous invention when josh and i were engaged and living in two different countries. we'd talk on the phone for hours and hours, never really running out of things to say or questions to ask. and now that i live so far from friends and family, i'm still very thankful for the phone.....and yet.....somehow, it still frightens me.


the fact is that i don't really like to call other people, even if i really like that person. those of you who call me and leave a message and wait FOREVER for me to call you back are all nodding your heads right now. i just suck at the phone. if a friend calls me i ALWAYS without fail have an initial moment of panic, where i think "what am i going to talk about?" i'm not sure why i still have this odd fear because i really enjoy the conversations i have with my friends when we do chat. to be honest, i would be completely fine with letting the machine get every single call. except that i feel like i have to answer just in case josh got in a car accident and is in the hospital or something. but otherwise i would never answer the phone. and i would lead a very quiet, very boring, very unsocial life.


and so, my dear friends who haven't given up on me despite the very one-sided telephone connection, thank you for calling.


15 comments:

Alvin & Denise Engler said...

i can *so* relate. wow. i am amazed that one of the "cool" people shares this same phone fear. i would never have guessed!

actually, i do usually let the machine answer. then while they leave a message, i decide whether its more scary to just pick up and talk to them, or put it off knowing this would force me to have to call back later.

this knowledge that i am not alone in my phone fear world is very illuminating. thank you.

-de

Jack Ensor said...

I have a fear of mayonnaise. In fact, it's a phobia. If there is a step above phobia, it's that. Not kidding. I've never eaten potato salad because of it. Needless to say, my selection of foods at the church potlucks were limited. I'd just wait for the really fat people to bring KFC. Thank God for them.

Grandma J. said...

As they say, my dear, the apple does not fall far from the tree! I too am just like you, still reluctant to answer the silly thing. I just said to a friend yesterday how I have never wanted to be a secretary because by definition a secretary need to Answer the Phone!

Sara said...

You are SO funny!

running wildly said...

Oh man....I totally get this.
Email all the way.

Sarafina said...

I agree...it is so much easier to not put my foot in my mouth over email. Talking just really isn't my thing! And I had turquoise glasses too! Sweet...

Ken, Natalie & Liam said...

Ken has been labelled a 'phonaphobic' for years by me! He just hates to answer it- or phone for that matter. I guess that's why opposites attract, huh?

corinne said...

You are way too funny. This just makes my day. I personally love the phone but I didn't always. I was afraid when I was a kid, then I became a legal secretary and had to use the phone a lot. That changed me and now I can't seem to get off the phone. Keep writing, I love reading your blog.

sarah_dickenson said...

I can totally relate Heidi! I can also remember when my friends and I transitioned from "Wanna play?" to "Wanna hang out?" :)

Aimee said...

Lance just can't understand my issues with the phone, but clearly you do! It is nice to know other people have this problem too. I have recently stepped up my efforts and have been forcing myself to make calls... and they've all worked out fine (of course, but that doesn't take away the anxiousness). I realized that when two friends share this issue then someone has to get over it a bit or you'll never talk. So I'm trying to be that person.

Well I better make use of my free time, both kids are napping... and I think I will too!

Aimee

Shannon said...

oh my goodness, how funny.

I have logged thousands of hours on the phone. Or more.

Dena said...

okay, let me just say, first, that Jack Ensor guy is hilarious, mayonaise, really??? And the fat people bringing the chicken thing, I was rollin! And Sara's comment, you know of course, you are SO NOT off the hook with her, you will still need to talk on the phone. But let me just say. DITTO SISTER!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!! I blame my parents for not making me more social, but I have total brain freeze unless I'm talking to someone who is a 'total talker'. UGH, the anxiety!

Shaun & Kristal Sawyer said...

Oh goodness, I feel like you wrote the words from my mouth! I am not a fan of talking on the phone...so why in the world did us two end up so far from our families and old friends?

Lovella said...

too funny . ..beside my phone is a phone number of a cousin that I haven't connected with in years. Apparently she wants me to call .. .about what? I wonder. . . .so it sits there. .. and all morning and now all afternoon it's been put off. I wish I could call her back and ask her to email me . .I think I feel a little shy. . . so there you go. . .
but oddly. . .I have an array of pictures of me talking on the phone growing up . . .I'll post them next week .. . just for you.

Naomi said...

Can't help but grinning. I don't like returning calls either. I have to say I feel bad for my friends that do call and leave messages. I REALLY dislike calling for information or making appointments.
I'm so glad to know that I am not alone. :)