Friday, September 30, 2005

Phone Phobia

I am a decidedly odd duck.

No, really.

(Oh, hush, you.)

For one thing, I hate the phone. I hate it ringing. I hate being interrupted in what ever I was doing, even if it was cleaning the kitchen, and especially if I am curled up, about to drift off. I don't even like talking to my friends on the phone, there's something about the lack of eye contact. I especially hate calling up people I don't know or barely know. I even have a hard time calling someone to come and repair something or make an appointment. Face-to-face for me. E-mail, of course, I love, as it is answered by the recipient at their leisure and you can think over your reply, choosing your words.

Yesterday, I had two phone calls.

Now, the nice thing about having the World's Best Job is that I no longer have a pager. There has been some small talk about getting me one from time to time, and so far, I have squelched that nonsense. There is really no need. I do not take any call. I am at the office, feet from a phone at all times. The lab, x-ray, and hospital operator have my home number, should something arise after hours, which happens only a few times a year. "Why spend the money?" I squawk to those in suits. "Good point," they agree. It's all about the bottom line.

When I had a real job, with my own patients, call, hospital rounds and all that sleep-stealing horror, my pager never stopped screaming. Initially I had calls put through to me at home through the phone. That turned out to be a disaster as everytime the phone rang I went into this Pavlov's-Dog-cum-puppy-in-the-shock-box response complete with palpitations, sweating, and looking for the nearest bed to dive under. Even when I was not on call. Not very good for one's mental health, especially if one is a shade neurotic to begin with. Good thing Charles majored in psychology, huh? Perhaps that is what attracted me to him. True, he also majored in Political Science, so maybe not, unless I reminded him of a neurotic Winston Churchill. Now there's an image.

So, phone rings yesterday morning, 8:30-ish. It is a former fellow employee calling to chat. She also has news. Very sad but not unexpected news. The death of someone I had been following peripherally, someone who hit home. I had an especially hard time chatting after that and hugged Sara quite a bit more than usual.

At about 4:30, as Colin had just stormed through the door, and we had gathered in the kitchen, homework command central, the phone rings again. The caller on the other end asks if I am "Colin's Mom" and it takes a bit for me to realize she means me. I've only been doing this school-thing a year and have not learned to answer to my new name as quickly as I should. She goes on to explain that she is calling because her son, who is in 4-yr-old kindergarten, bit Colin on the bus today. I ask Colin if this is true, and he confirms it. I check the completely undamaged finger as he continues to do his homework. We then chat, she apologizing and feeling horrified, me reassuring and feeling horrible for her, because, what a call to have to make. Colin bit my friend's daughter when he was about 16 months old and I still feel bad. She admits that she didn't know what to do when she found out this happened from her daughter, Colin's friend and former classmate, but figured that if someone bit one of her children and didn't let her know, she'd be livid, so she'd better call me and check that Colin was OK and let me know what happened and all.

What a classy thing to do. I can't wait to meet her.

Still, I feel like a bit of phone avoidance today. I think Sara and I will vamoose to the woods and stomp through some public leaves, letting the answering machine earn its keep. That's my quota for phone calls for a month.

Told you I was odd.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phone calls bring nothing but bad news-the telegrams of the New Age. As a teacher I would urge parents to call whenever they had concerns and to re-call if I didn't get back to them within 24 hours-"Things happen to phone messages, you know." If they did not phone back-90+% of the calls didn't-I would consider them a non-issue and get on with my job. And I never called home to report a miscreant; I took care of it inhouse.

I received notification from my brother of both parents' passing during the first class of the day. ("Hi, Dad/Mom just died. Have a good day. See ya.")

No, nothing ever comes of a phone call. After retirement, I rarely answer the phone as it is never for me. I have learned.

The Ole RF-er

11:56 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

re: the Phone - I prefer to talk to certain people on the phone - like my sister, grandma, husband, etc. but I am with you on emails. It is just easier. Whenever I call a friend on the phone these days, I feel as if I am disturbing them - I don't get that feeling when emailing, for obvious reasons.

re: the Mother of the Child Who Bit Colin - I agree she sounds like an upright citizen. In this day and age of totally coddling children (Bill Maher likes to say that "parents are on a big long date with their children" hee hee) , it is great to see a parent say "hey, my kid did something bad/socially unacceptable and I am sorry for it". I certainly hope I will be that parent when my kid does something bad.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Oh good lord. you are SOOOOOOOO my evil twin. Here we go again. The love of e-mail. The phone avoidance thing. I have caller ID so I don't have to talk to anyone I don't want to - which includes the omniprensent "unknown caller." And I turn the ringer off when I've hit my phone call quota. And my husband's degree is in Political Science (but no psychology). Freaky, I say!

3:49 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

I have a mild dislike of phones, but my husband hates them. I agree, I'm an e-mail girl all the way. So sorry about the bad news on the phone. I think it is important to have phone-free days. Go for it.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

I'm anti-phone until I realize no one is calling me.

Then when they start calling again I get annoyed eventually.

Yup. I'm weird, too.

7:53 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I hate talking on the phone. It is boring and there's so much more I could be doing. But sometimes I like it. I used to spend hours talking to one of my ex-boyfriends, we would talk about anything and everything. That was kind of fun.

I prefer email as well or talking to my friends face to face. Or leaving comments!

I'm sorry about the bad news. And am also impressed with the mother of the bad biter!

9:06 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hate the phone. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Talk about social awkwardness. You don't even have nonverbal cues to help you along.

Rock on to the mom of the biter. I hope that's what I'm like.

I know you're a vegetable gardener, but are you all about plants, too? Test questions: when should I trim my butterfly bush, the fall or the spring? And should I be fertilizing my tulips? They were pretty sorry looking this year.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dad- Uncle J did that?!? Boy, what a way to break news. I am very grateful that now-a-days the phone is rarely for me, either.

Cagey- "Big long date with parenting." That's it exactly. Somehow, I think you will not be remotely that kind of parent. You will be the one with the kids that the other parents want theirs to play with.

Teri- Freaky, huh? I've toyed with caller ID, but then just resort to having The Machine do the dirty work. My folks screen all their calls, which is a bit much for me, but I can certainly understand why they do it.

Stace- We had a lovely time in the woods with the leaves and the sticks and the puff balls. I then ignored the phone all afternoon. Heaven.

Babs- Something about the pleasure denied, huh? I get that. Except with the phone. Never the phone. Didn't use to be the case, though, I used to be able to talk for hours to friends, but that was when I was young and there was no e-mail.

Dana- Yeah, Charles and I used to talk for hours, too, and that was after spending the day together. Comments rock. Love the comments.

Linda- You hit it on the head, no cues, except with the voice. I'm sure you find that with your work, too. I hate calling patients, necessary though it is, as I can't assess if I am making sense and answering their unasked questions, which means I spend 3 times as long explaining something over the phone and say everything five times over. Gah, I must drive them crazy, poor people!

Plants! Yes, love the plants! Disclaimer: Jamie (10 Signs Like This) and Rozanne (Is There Anything Of Interest) are more expert than me and both have lived in the upper Midwest before moving to gentler climes. Their links are on the sidebar. They also share their recipes, several of which have made it to my personal binder. I hack my butterfly bushes back in early spring (late March or so), when things are starting to bud. Mine grow so vigorously that I think if I pruned them in the fall, they would suffer, trying to put out new growth and then freezing. I cut them down to about 6" from the ground and mulch the crown with barkdust. Sure, fertilize those tulips if you want. Won't hurt, may help. Tulips do lose their oomph after a few years, so if they are several years old (this is your 2nd year in the house if I am remembering right) they may be at the end. In that case, dividing may help. If they were planted last year and were smallish, they may need a year or two to beef up, and then the fertilizer will enhance this. One more thing, you don't trim or fold the foliage after the bloom is done, right? You just let it turn brown and then remove it, yes?

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fertilize the tulips with bone meal. Dig them up every year or two and replant with bone meal underneath. Do all that because you enjoy it, because they won't last more than a year or two no matter what you do. I quit planting tulips in our yard, and now, every year, we go out to the tulip farm in Woodburn to see 10 acres of tulips in bloom. No work and simply gorgeous!


1:39 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

I love the phone, you are all mad! Email I love as well but sometimes it just lies there, waiting an answer, oy. Phone is swifter! And you actually hear people's voices, and you can talk to your friends abroad. Much better than email, sorry. MUCH.

That being said, Loverboy still tries to have me be the one who rings everyone etc. I have rebelled, wth? You may not like it but sometimes I don't feel like it either so there. *stomps foot*

12:15 PM  

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