I hate to use the telephone. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sociable and amiable type person, but without seeing the person I am conversing with and judging their reaction, any pause seems a thousand times longer and a million times more uncomfortable than it actually probably is.
This is not a new notion. As far back as I can remember it has been the same. Way back when we first started to use the phone, and I am talking big clunky land line phones, to which there was usually only one, or two if you were lucky; and these were often in the busiest thoroughfare of the entire home. Be it in the hall, at the bottom of the stairs or the kitchen, and because of the very public placing of THE phone, we all became well practiced in getting on, mumbling a plan and getting off pretty damn quick.
Talking to girls was where the issue really came to a head. It was bad enough trying to actually talk to a girl in person. Palms sweating, increased heart rate, stuttering… and this would usually result in blurting out “I like you. Will you out with me go?” and before she could decipher the atrocious grammar I would flee. So imagine that, but in audio only.
(Two minute pause where only breathing and hesitation could be heard) “Erm… did you get a copy of tonight’s homework?”
“Oh, is that why you called?”
“Ok, so what do you want?”
(Another long excruciating pause) “Eh, never mind, see you tomorrow”.
It never really got any better.
So with technology today, where we all have a phone in our pocket, with us 24/7, this should be easier. It is hell. Please don’t be fooled into thinking the problem is just about conversing with the opposite sex. Doctors appointments have been missed, job interviews have not been attended, family occasions missed; in fact the only benefit is at least its unlikely that any stories of phone hacking will ever turn up anything remotely interesting.
This is why, praise be, that I am so thankful to the clever little bod who thought up Skype. It boggles the mind that at any point 45 million people can be doing likewise all over the world, but the beauty is it connects us instantly to anyone, anywhere; face to face; and pardon me for being frugal, it’s also free of charge. Someone clearly missed a trick but that’s their problem. Now I can talk to home, I can organize my life, I arrange new opportunities worldwide and I can even meet new people. Just as long as they’re not women.