The Telephone; Oh How I Loathe Thee

17 July 2010

The telephone is one device of convenience that I just don't like; especially cell phones. This sounds funny coming from someone who owns an iPhone 3GS, I know. However the telephone feature of my iPhone is one of the least used features.

As an introvert, I don't like doing a whole lot of talking and especially on the phone. I prefer face to face conversations which can be more stimulating and it can be easier to walk away from than a conversation on the phone. On the phone the other person who might be a very talkative person cannot see me trying to get a few words in. I usually end up just saying "uh huh" a lot or nothing at all until they think I am not there and they take a break and say "are you there?" Then I can say "yes and ...."

The telephone is just too impersonal and I prefer to use it as a tool rather than a social device. I only make calls when I need something, I don't call to have a casual conversation about nothing. At work I spend a good deal of time on the phone in the course of my duties so I am hearing the sound of a ringing phone all day long. When I am not at work, I do not want to hear a telephone at all, the sound of it wears me out!

I miss the days before cell phones and answering machines. When we had only one phone in the house with no answering machine. If someone called you and you were there, fine you answered the call. But if you were not home and received a call, it would just ring until the other person gave up. They will have to try back later hoping to catch you when you were home. I loved the anonymity of those times. When you left the house, no one knew where you went except those that you happened to tell that were around.

Today we all have cell phones with caller ID and voicemail. We as a society have a presumed idea that when we call someone they will answer no matter where they are because they have a cell phone and should have it on them at all times. With caller ID available, when we don't answer the phone, either by choice or we actually did miss it, people will think we're screening our calls or don't want to talk to them. Sometimes it's true. The other person may get upset that you didn't take their call or return it, because they know at some point you'll see that they called you on your cell phone.

I don't like the idea of people getting a hold of me 24 hours a day no matter where I am. I miss the anonymity of the old days. But as technology develops and society moves ahead, I have to have a cell phone, especially in relation to my job. I do often screen my calls and will not answer it many times just because I don't like talking on the phone. I'll let the caller go to voicemail and if their call is important enough to them, they'll leave a message. Then I'll decide to call them back or maybe not; it depends on if I think the call is important enough to me.

I use the phone as a tool that I may need. I will call someone or a business to get information, to pass on information or ask a favor. The call will be short and to the point. I try not to make small talk as that to me is a waste of time and stressful.

If someone wants to get a hold of me, I prefer the text message or email over the telephone. This way, most people will be more apt to get right to the point of their message and avoid the small talk because they don't want to type out all the meaningless chatter. This works well for me as things can get accomplished faster and I don't get bored or stressed by overly talkative people with chit chat. Email and texting also allows me time to gather my thoughts and ensure my response is the best it can be. I prefer to wait a little while and think about my responses, if it is a deep enough conversation I am engaging in. I enjoy being able to respond on my time and not be put on the spot trying to think of something witty to say. Most people are uncomfortable with any amount of silence on the phone and feel the need to fill the void with useless talk. I don't mind the silence and am usually thinking when I am not speaking. Of course when that happens the person on the other end decides to talk before I get a chance to speak my thoughts, which is why I loathe the telephone.

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