On October 7, 1974 when I was 14 years old, I made my first long distance call from my home in Deep River to my godparents in Brampton. A long distance call back then was a much more complicated process and involved calling the operator and getting them to connect you. It was serious business! To commemorate this special event, my godfather had a little toy phone bronzed and attached a plaque to remember the date. I still have it and consider it one of my special possessions. Despite this momentous event, I am not a phone lover and never will be. In fact, I dislike the phone intensely.
Over the years, I’ve managed to avoid the phone whenever I can and resisted getting a cell phone until I found it difficult not having one. There aren’t many pay phones around.
I find the phone so intrusive with its loud insistent ringing and I dislike talking on it, too. For an introvert like me, I find it very stressful, especially calling strangers to make appointments or applying for jobs. Letting the phone go to the answering machine suits me just fine, especially if it’s an unrecognizable number or someone I don’t want to speak to. Call display is worth the extra expense. Being a visual person, the phone makes me uncomfortable being unable to see the person’s facial expressions and body language. I also don’t like the immediacy and how you have to respond right away as it makes me self conscious. With email you can take time to reflect and change things. With the phone, once you say it, it’s out there, no matter how much you’d like to take it back again.
I’ve had clerical and secretarial jobs where I was in charge of answering the phone, taking messages and directing calls. It paid the bills but wasn’t enjoyable. We are so lucky to live in the age of the Internet being able to chat, text or email. Skype or Facetime can be nerve wracking like the phone with that immediacy aspect, but at least you can see the person’s face. If those methods aren’t available, the phone is a last resort.