29 December 2010

Are We Having Phone Yet?

Ladies and gents, my nemesis:

For those too young to recognize what you're looking at, may I present the great-grandma of that vibrating cell you carry in your back pocket—otherwise known as the telephone. VoilĂ !

This one bears a resemblance to the last phone I had a good relationship with, many years ago. Notice the rotary dial? It's not as speedy to use as buttons, but makes for a more interactive calling experience, and requires extra seconds of patience. Slow Phone. It's organic. It also used to make for interesting dream symbolism; my mom used to have visions in the night about rotary phones—always they were out of order. A dial that wouldn't stop spinning was a problem that frequently vexed her in Slumberland. I used to interpret those dreams for her when I was little. She asked me.

I actually have many good phone stories—look, here's one now!—however, it's been 23 years since the telephone and I had a serious falling out, dating from a deep provocation which inspired me to despise the ol' horn—but that's not the story I want to tell today.

Generally, I don't hold grudges, but somehow this aversion of mine to all things telephone never passed, but instead grew, slowly, steadily (admittedly, with much care and feeding), till here I am, two decades and some change later, so practiced in my disdain that I can go for days and often weeks without picking up the receiver and saying so much as, "Hullo?" Some of you already know this.

It's not productive behavior, I agree. It's anti-social. I know, I know. You nut, are you phobic? you might ask. And I'd answer, Well... maybe. Okay, yes. Moderately. I have been known to run from ringing phones. But only on occasion.

So it was brought to my attention early in December (and several times since, oof) that our home message machine was full and rudely turning callers away. I yam ashamed to consider how long it's been since I last listened to voice mail.

Today I finally did something that probably none of you will think is brave, because it isn't, really. In fact, I guess it's even a smidge chicken-hearted. I emptied our machine, without listening to the old messages... messages numbering in the triple digits, I might add, completely neglected, collected for months. I did not attempt to muster the courage to play them and take notes and vow to respond. I knew it was a do or die project—erase the lot, crash and burn, declare bankruptcy—but also in the process reboot, forgive and forget, wipe the slate clean.

That's right. I lobotomized my phone.

Here's the one redeeming part: I didn't do it to ignore anyone. I did it to make room for change. I'm ready to bury the hatchet with... what? It's more than just the telephone. I'm not sure I want to delve too deeply into the psychology at present; I'd much prefer to post some YouTube vids and scatter some photos around, thus:

I love people! I mean, honestly love them! See why? That's why it's time to quit singing this (admittedly very catchy) reclusive tune.

Yeah, this is more like it. See the friendly pink Hungarian lady? This is exactly what I should be doing. It's what I vow to do! Ring-a-ding-ding, world! And another vow: I will answer the dang-blamed phone. I will. I haven't missed a call yet since the message blitz. (Okay, there's only been one, but my intention is fixed.)

Here's the plan: my rehabilitation starts immediately—I'm not waiting for the new year to roll around. I'm inviting you to be part of my reformation effort, and it'll be a comfortable rather than a hair-shirtless repentance, if you don't mind. A daily call. Like this:

Looks simple enough, doesn't it? I call, you answer. I mean, if you'd like to. If you're not singing the Cake song and screening your calls. I guess you're still helping if you don't answer your phone, aren't you? You're still my intended destination, and dialing your number is still a journey for me.

You do realize this is a Sign of the Times.

So, dear ones, if you want to help me get this leaf turned over, email me your phone number. Yes, even if you believe I have it. Chances are I can't find it, because hey, I've almost never used it. (Ouch. This hurts.) I'll start filling up my calendar with one call a day (gotta start at a moderate pace). If you want a specific day, say the word. If you want repeat days, say those words too. Ha. I will beat this confounded bugaboo. Oh, and if you are Rob and want me to call you, go ahead and sign up, because I can always go next door and borrow the neighbors' phone. Contact me at:

pogofig at gmail dot com

That'll do.

Doesn't this look fun?—


Betsy said...

You are brave. I have a moderate phone phobia too, and the thought of facing it right now--well, I can't do it. But here's a little present for you:


Betsy said...

p.s. I have a working bright yellow Princess style rotary phone right here on my computer desk.

Dr. Stockton said...

Good for you Geo (and that was great opening line, by the by).

You have my number, would love to catch up - call me any time.

wendysue said...

I actually had to show my kids on a play telephone, how to use that rotary dial. My oldest thought maybe you just moved from number to number depending on what you were dialing. sigh.

I have fond memories of my Dad stuffing our phone in the desk drawer during family dinners so we wouldn't be bothered.

anna said...

I also have several (though not in the triple digits) calls left unanswered and unresponded. Texting is really the worst, I rarely answer. As you are turning a new leaf, I think I will try to as well. And I say good for you! sometimes message bankruptcy is all you can do!

Melody said...

I'm thrilled you deleted messages without listening. Thrilled!

Start fresh. See what comes. . . good things, I'll bet.

Love you.

Holly Decker said...

you are ever so brave, and just for the record- i like you- phobia or no phobia.

Johanna said...

Yeah, brave to erase. I do the same w/ email--four digits!--but haven't been brave enough to just erase it all and start fresh. oh the burden.