Don’t Call Me. Really. Don’t.

July 27th, 2010

I have an issue with the phone.  I’m not sure what it is.  I just kind of hate it.  I don’t want it to ring.  Ever.  Maybe it’s because I’m married and not looking for a date.  Whatever.  I just hate when the phone rings.

Caller ID was invented for people like me, people who would sooner cut their little fingers off than answer the phone to find a–gasp!–stranger on the other end of the line.  When the phone rings in this household, my husband and I play a game of chicken.  Who will give in first?  Sometimes it’s not until the beginning of the fourth ring (voice mail picks up at the end of it) that one of us actually grabs the phone and peers at the little screen.  If it’s a child, we pick up.  I mean, if it’s one of OUR children.  Other people’s children we’re not so interested in.

Of course, some people block their numbers.

I hate those people.

I have no problem letting them go to voice mail and then deciding if we’ll pick up or not once we know who it really is.  You need to sound like you’re out of breath if you pick up after the voice mail does though–like you were RUNNING for the phone and almost didn’t make it.  Otherwise people will think you’re screening your calls.

You don’t want people to think that.

I’ve tried to get the message across.  People leave voice mails for me.  I email them back.  They call me on my cell.  I email them back.  They run up to me in stores or restaurants.  I email them back.

“You cannot have a playdate with anyone whose mother doesn’t do email,” I tell my kids.

Why do I hate the phone so much?  I don’t know.  I guess it’s the negative reinforcement from those times I DO pick up and it’s a telemarketer or, you know . . . my mother in law.  Not that I have anything against either.  There’s just something about having to make small talk on a phone that drives me nuts.  There are so many other things you could be doing with that time, like writing twenty emails or a clever facebook status.  Or weeding the garden.  Or writing a novel. Or flossing.

And you have to be so NICE on the phone.  Watch someone on the phone talking to someone he doesn’t even like.  He’ll smile the entire time because you’re supposed to be nice when you talk to people and you smile when you’re talking in a nice voice, even if you’d happily plunge a fork into the other person’s eye for calling RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MAD MEN.  What kind of person calls during MAD MEN???  Admittedly we watch it on TiVo so it’s only on in our household, but even so . . . they’re ruining our lives.

So if you want to reach me, email me.  In fact, just to make this point perfectly clear, I’m thinking of switching our current friendly voice mail message to something my friend Ann Brown said she’s going to put on hers:

“I am home right now, so please email me and I’ll get right back to you.”


  • Ann Brown says:

    I think I found an even more dysfunctional subset to this condition we share: I no longer love emailing people now that I found Facebook. A quick bon mot (or congratulations. Or condolence. Or a break up) on someone’s Facebook wall is the best way to communicate.

  • Autismville says:

    Swear to God we were separated at birth! I HATE the phone .. and .. I never check my voice mail. If you can’t e-mail me or FB me, I don’t have time for you in my life ..

    Changing my voice mail message right now ..

  • annie says:

    I am so with you on this one. Call I.D. rules.

  • rachelhamm says:

    I hate the phone too, but somehow it seems like the only jobs I’m qualified for include answering the phone ALL DAY LONG. I’ve mastered the art of sounding cheerful and happy to help while rolling my eyes and gesturing slitting my own throat to my co-workers.

    hilarious post!

  • Sally says:

    Hmmmm. I’m the Luddite who has a 1970s push button phone on the kitchen wall (with the heavy receiver/looonnnng cord). Love that phone – as it never gets lost in our messy house and it works when the power goes out (eastern seaboard AC zone, thunder storms, etc. – so it happens). My husband is the owner of the radio phones lost all over the house. Yes, we both have our gadgets – me, my blackberry. He, the iphone. I LOVE the voicemail message by the way – very funny Ann.

    But… the Luddite in me HATES caller ID (though, you’ll be happy to know I don’t go so far as to block our ID). My sister answers the phone very rudely because of it (either direction). She either answers too informally (not just to me, but to her co-workers/clients/anyone) or when I answer, she spits out in rapid speed “it’s me,” with a grand sense of entitlement and is pissed off when I say “uh… who?” No, I don’t talk to either sister often – I’m the stupid one, by the way (something more human compared to my sisters’ nearly 1600 scores on the SATs). Oh, I’m one of three sisters – the smart one, the smarter one and the stupid one… none of us are pretty… lol. But, at least they both “speak” to me (as I’m non-threatening) and they save their true animosity for one another. So, I purposely keep away caller ID away from our home so that my family (including an ASD child) always answers the phone politely.

    Re: phone solicitations – somehow our phone line rings three times for long distance – and I know if anyone calls with three rings at dinner time, not to answer – not only avoiding cold calls but also avoiding the smart one, the smarter one and the annoying one (mom).

    But, yes – it’s gotten to the point that we should turn off our answering machine too – most communication is via email and if someone leaves a message on the answering machine – It may be days before I hear it, as I am so unused to not checking it at this point.

    Facebook? Not so much. I try to steer any facebook generated conversation to email. Any in depth conversations – I actually get annoyed if they are not on the phone – as too many emails on a topic gets annoying (e.g., how are we going to fundraise for our school?). Thank you notes and holiday cards are still snail mail. And, my husband wonders why on earth am I posting on the blogsphere? Like now. lol.

  • Claire says:

    Sally, it is definitely much easier to plan things like school events by phone than by email. Personally, I’d take the inconvenience of dealing with thirty people all emailing the same “I’ll bring the frosting!” message at the same moment over having to pick up the phone to talk to any of them. But that’s definitely me! Good point about voice mails: those mostly just disappear around here too.

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