"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.