From the Braver Institute
As I have grown older I have come to learn a few things about myself that I wasn’t completely aware of before. It may also be that I simply hadn’t given much thought to these things until now. Then again, it may be that I have actually changed but I’m not so sure of that.
Take for instance the telephone. The older I get, the more I realize that I hate talking on the phone and avoid it if at all possible. I never answer a call from a number I don’t recognize and I reluctantly answer calls from those I do recognize. My daughters can attest to the fact that every time my phone rings the first words out of my mouth are a disgusted “now what?” and then I slip into my very polite and professional telephone voice to answer it, unless it is Wayne Ghengis or Nelson the Viking, then I simply blurt out a crude insult as I answer the phone.
It all reminds me of my old friend Kutsu who hated his telephone because every time it rang there was someone on the other end.
Now I don’t hate my phone. In fact I kind of like my phone. It can do almost anything plus it is waterproof to 3 meters, which makes retrieving golf balls from the water hazard on holes three and four a little less worrisome. My phone is more of an assistant to me. It is my alarm clock. It is my radio. It is one of my cameras. It is my notebook. It also has the annoying feature of being a communication device.
But even before phones were equipped with such features I still had a fascination with the things. One of my first jobs was in a hardware store, where I was put in charge of the telephone department. This was right after the government deregulated the telephone industry and the public at large now had access to all kinds of new and wonderful telephones. Owning your phone was still a bit of a mystery to many folks and there was a need for telephone experts to help them choose and install a phone that they liked. That was me. I also repaired telephones, which was one of my favorite things to do.
Thinking back to those days and perhaps even earlier, it’s possible I didn’t like talking on the phone then either, but there was less opportunity to do it. If I wasn’t at home, there was no phone.
As a kid my phone conversations seldom involved more than a dozen words. Primarily these conversations were with my best friend Denny and they were basically for the purpose of hailing each other to go outside to do something. On the other hand my friend Buzzy would call and ask questions like “whatcha doing?” to which the reply was “nothing” and then there was an awkward silence for what seemed an eternity. Buzzy just couldn’t get to the point—it seemed like the conversation would never end and when it did end you were not really sure that it had. Maybe my dislike of phone conversations stems from this.
At risk of being a bit of a walking contradiction, I will say that I call my mother almost every night simply because I can. I am thankful for the ability to call her and find out how her day has been and let her know about the things that are going on in my life. Although I can’t help but suspect that when her phone rings she utters a disgusted “now what?”
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