…If yes, then send me an e-mail.
I have recently been thinking about this – the older I become, the less I care about what other people think of me.
In line with this, I have lately been amusing myself with inventorying all the little eccentricities that I have – sources of slight embarrassment in the past, but more recently – simply building blocks of me.
While I can’t quite boast with succumbing to the fashions of the times and cleaning my house with organic mixtures of bicarbonate of soda, lemon and vinegar; and I most definitely would take an antibiotic rather than die an organic death, I can come up with the following two items, quite rare in a person my age, living in a relatively developed emerging country: 1. I have never owned a credit card, and 2. I have never flown on a plane.
These are the worst things I could think of. But if you don’t like them, I’ve got others too.
One of the reasons behind my blissful state of credit card-lessness, is perhaps this – I very rarely answer calls from unknown numbers, and if I do, and they turn out to be people advertising credit cards/pension schemes/life insurance policies and such, I hang up. Immediately.
Which brings me to Oddness List item number 3. – I, to put it mildly, hate talking on the phone. I hate being caught off-guard and detained to suit somebody who’s happened to call at a time convenient to them, to settle a matter that is more often than not more important to them than to me.
I can handle anybody face-to-face, and can be quite talkative and amiable when I want to, so communication is not a problem per se, but the phone, depriving me of the possibility to make eye contact and gesticulate, turns me into an invertebrate species of pond life.
I work in an open-plan office that at most times is as quiet as a library. I like that. In addition, I have a rather low voice that grows hoarse pretty quickly, especially when I don’t talk for a while. So very often, when somebody calls me at the office, they say: “Oh, you sound hoarse. Are you ill?” “No, thank you, I’ve only been shutting up and thinking,” I want to answer, but I seldom do.
Or, in an effort to show some semblance of good manners, many people call and when you answer, they say something like: “Hello, is this a good time?”, and then move on to whatever they want to say, without a pause. “Hello,” I’d like to say, “actually, NO, it isn’t, but since you called, go ahead anyway.” That’s pond life for you.
I detest the sound of a phone ringing and keep mine quiet at almost all times. I have set different melodies for family and others, but given the silent mode, all the phone does is vibrate, so I get hot flashes whenever anybody calls, be they my mom, or the Big Bad Wolf plotting to eat me alive.
One-on-one calls are bad enough, but I can think of something that is even worse – conference calls. I seldom hear well, and in addition experience all the diminished performance issues that I have with the phone. So, don’t expect brightness from me if you put me on the join.me platform.
Over the summer, I had to attend quite a few conference calls at work, and have been amazed at the way some of the other participants took them from malls, restaurants and all other sorts of noisy places. I think this is annoying, and very rude. The next time I hear somebody talk to me from a mall on a work call, I will take it from my bathroom. And I’ll make sure they hear that too.
I had a, I believe it’s called a dumb phone, until February this year. A former co-worker used to mock me for it, saying it looked like something you could crack nuts with. And indeed, it was on the large side and had ribbed rubber panels, so it could be safely dropped and wetted. Quite unattractive, but very stable, and battery lasted a week.
I switched to a smartphone, because I work with people in wildly different time zones and thus tend to receive emails at the craziest hours. In the same time, I reflected, if there is anything I hate more than receiving unexpected calls, it’s not knowing what emails (i.e. problems) are waiting for me at the office. I am also not a fan of having to sort out urgent messages in the morning, when I am at my most productive. Given all this, I use my current phone the most for checking my email, reading, browsing and taking pictures, and the least for making actual calls. And I’m quite happy with this arrangement too.
So there, dear Reader, I hope you’re not thrown off by my anti-phone outburst. In line with its mood of sneering negativity, I plan to finish it off with a silly song I remember from the 1990s, very thematically appropriate. But please, open the link only if you find slight profanity funny, and don’t tend to take things literally. (About those dolls..I really didn’t know what they were in the 1990s. Ignorance is bliss.)
Optimist that I am, I consider this loaded epistolary soliloquy an ode to the written word,