Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hanging up the Phone

It dawned on me the other day that I do not like talking on the telephone anymore. The reasons for this are many, from technological "advances" to deteriorating hearing (mine and others), and the exploitation of the telephone for marketing purposes.

Our household land line (yes, we still have one!) receives very few phone calls directed specifically to us from friends, business associates and clients, and family. The overwhelming majority of calls are from charities telling us "We will have a truck in your area on (insert date here) if you have items to donate," political surveys, and, worst of all, pre-recorded messages also of a political or financial nature. Our favorite recurring recording begins "Fellow seniors...." Since I have been on the other end of phone surveys, I often comply with those requests if they are polite and I can understand the person asking the questions.

I do have a cell phone, and, as my wife will tell you, I loathe it. Were it not for the situation of being stranded at airports on a routine basis, I would dispense with a mobile phone altogether. I certainly don't feel the need to be "connected" at all times with the internet, or even friends or family.

I have a flip phone now because I kept accidentally dialing people with a newer phone; and I dropped the newer phone once and after that it would randomly display a useless, pure white screen preventing me from dialing out, reading text messages, etc. Oh, and even my flip phone has buttons on the side that do God-knows-what, that I inadvertently press simply by putting the phone in my pocket. My wife claims to call me, but I don't hear or feel the blame thing ring half the time.

I do call my mother every Sunday night, but I must admit that I don't always look forward to it, if only because I have to repeat everything I say at least once. Hearing loss is a part of aging, obviously, but it really becomes tiresome and frustrating trying to correct my mother's interpretation of the name of the place we spent the weekend, or whatever. But, mom does not have the internet, so I can't e-mail. She doesn't have a cell, so I can't text (and I am about the world's slowest texter anyway).

I am truly surprised, and perhaps a little disappointed, to admit that I would rather communicate by e-mail, or even Facebook messaging, instead of by phone or written correspondence. Don't get me wrong, though, I would still choose a face-to-face conversation over any of the above. I suppose that when fewer and fewer e-mails come from friends and colleagues, and politically-motivated e-mails start dominating my in-box, I may go back to the telephone and letter carrier, or cease to communicate altogether. I'm sure some people would be overjoyed by my silence.