Call Me

Published June 20, 2012 by Maryanne

Me, using an effective tool for friendship  (Photo by Darlene Foster)

I have a friend I’ve known since high school who, for the past few years, does all her communicating online. It wasn’t always like this. I used to call her whenever I needed someone to talk to, and she was there for me. But once Face Book came along, she started this new rule that it was best to communicate to her via email, which irked me to no end and evidently after quite a few miscommunications — via email of course — the friendship ended.

To me, a phone call will always be vastly superior to an email. You can hear the tone of a person’s voice and know immediately if they are happy or sad, if you called at a bad time or if they have exciting news to share. You can hear laughter. You can hear a joke or sarcasm that may not be translated via email. And you can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the touch tone buttons.

People seem to think it’s some sort of status symbol to say they have no time for phone calls, or that they don’t get many phone calls. In the 21st century, a phone call uncool and not something to be used by those who love to keep up with the Joneses.

I don’t know what Joneses these hipsters are keeping up with, but I prefer the Joneses of yesteryear — the Tom Joneses, the Shirley Joneses and the Davy Joneses — the Joneses that were around when it was cool to be on the phone. If a person’s line was busy, that meant he/she was popular.

I was the last person on earth to get an answering machine and in the early 90s I still didn’t have one. People either caught me when I was home, or didn’t get me at all. This was great when I was still single. I actually got letters in the mail from friends and potential boyfriends because they had no other way of getting in touch with me if I wasn’t home to answer the phone.

To this day, I find that so amusing.

The whole concept of emails and texting being a major source of communication just escapes me. I couldn’t imagine being a younger person and using these methods for dating. It takes away the whole mystique of being unavailable.

I remember being a young person and coming home from a night out and my grandmother telling me a certain someone had called while I was out. How exciting!

I feel so sorry for young people who don’t have that grand element of surprise anymore during their dating years. They are missing out, big time. Everything is too easy, which takes away the fun. It’s just human nature that people like a bit of a challenge.

Last year during a slow period with my business I took on a part-time job at a music store for a couple months. The store owner’s son would spend entire nights hanging out at the music store texting a girl he was interested in. It was so pathetic to watch. She obviously wasn’t interested in him and just used the texting tool as a way to kill her boredom because from what he told me she had no life. (And clearly he didn’t either).

I felt bad for the kid, but he made his own bed. He was obviously addicted to this little device that was preventing him from getting out in the world and enjoying life. I wondered if the same girl would spend as much time with this guy had he called her or set up a date to see her in person. Probably not.

I remember being young and telling my grandmother, “Say I’m not home!” when an undesirable person would call. How do you do that with a text? With texts and emails — the punchline is, you’re ALWAYS home. But I guess the younger generation has new concepts of what a loser is and isn’t.

And, think about it, how sexy was it back in the day when you first met someone and he/she wrote their phone number on your hand? In this technology day and age, people are like, “call my cell, then I’ll have your number in there.”

Eww … how dull! And people are missing out on the thrill of touching someone’s arm for the first time as they write their phone number on it. Talked about a missed opportunity!

Call me old fashioned, but I simply love the idea of going through a phone book and calling random friends from a land line. (Note: I don’t call people who only use cells — I do not want to compete with traffic and background noise, and people certainly shouldn’t be talking on their phones while driving!)

It’s so exciting when someone you left a message for calls you back. It’s just so cool that there are still people out there that have courtesy skills — and even cooler that I can call these people friends!

Sometimes while I’m waiting for my husband to come home, I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and talk for a half hour or so to my friend Gina or my friend Darlene (who took the photo above) who also lives close-by. Even though I see Gina and Darlene often, it’s still so nice to keep in touch on a regular basis. When we see each other we still have plenty to talk about and laugh about.

What a blessing it is to live during a time when the good things in life are just a phone call away.

17 comments on “Call Me

  • You are right on the money about this era, being a time when we are tethered to devices. I have not had a cell phone since December of 2010 and only had it then, because I was on call 24/7 because of my work. I tried texting a couple of times, but gave up on it fast. When I had a cell phone, it distracted me no end when a call came, when I was making a left turn, so not having a cell phone doesn’t bother me, except for an emergency on the roadside. I could have used one back in the 70’s when I was stranded, when the transmission went out for several hours in the middle of nowhere.

    • Great insights! I hate texting. One time I had a client insist I use it, so I made her pay for it! My cell is just for emergencies and being a woman I think it’s safe to have one. I tell people not to call that number unless it’s an emergency. And if there were still phone booths around, I wouldn’t even have a cell phone. It’s such a waste of money, so to get my money’s worth, I use it as an alarm clock! 🙂

  • Know what you mean about using cell phone for an alarm clock. When I worked as a caregiver at night had to call the office at certain times, to let them know I hadn’t fell asleep on the job. So I always set the alarm and checked in with office on time, because of having the cell phone.

    • That’s great! Sometimes I set the cell phone alarm when I’m out and about and need to be somewhere else at a certain time. That’s a more genius tool than the actual cell phone, I think 🙂

  • Ok first, Your picture is absolutely beautiful! I love everything about that look! Second, you’re right about the upcoming generation. I fear their social skills will lack which definitely affects their relationship skills. Sad day……Your picture should be the poster board for getting back to the basics!!!!

  • You’re right on the money as usual, Maryanne! I rarely use my cell phone and as for texting, I value my privacy way too much to be at anyone’s finger tips 24/7. And thanks for the photo plug, by the way!

  • I read this and then re-read and the I posted this link on Facebook 😀
    I loved this blog post ❤ ❤ I so much agree with you. I hate the way new technology has taken over and is eating people's souls. There is so much goodness on the Internet (makes the world smaller, having your own media, spreading information and opinions + reaching people via blogs etc) and mobile phones (emergencies etc) but I feel that people use it wrong. I'm so happy I got to live 22 years without the Internet and 23 years without owning a mobile phone. I feel blessed to have lived the "Say I'm not home if someone calls!" -period in my teens. I feel sorry for today's kids for living in a Facebook world, where people are too shy to call each other, even if they've nothing special to say.

    I'm still on Facebook, though I hate it. I'm there because friends I've made abroad are there and my family. I just use it very little now and try to stay (moderately) inactive, so that Facebook doesn't hurt me. (yes, it hurts when people don't answer your messages, when they're supposed to be your friend on Facebook… or just a friend, even without Facebook). It seems it disconnects people as much as it connects them…

    I just feel that Facebook and all that shit makes people more antisocial and shy to connect with people on a more personal level, so I've been distancing myself from all things internet. I still read blogs daily, post something on Facebook every once in a while, read email (have to!) and most importantly: download movies to watch with my friends. So yes, The Internet has it's advantages, but the idea that most communication is now online… just sucks.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts and re-posting this. I especially like the part where you said kids are too shy to talk to each other on the phone. Phone skills are still very important in regard to communicating with the world. In my business I see that starting to change too. Some people are so lazy to get on the phone, they say, “Just send me an email.” Fine and good, IF people had good email skills. Most don’t, which led me to write this in the first place after ending a 30-year friendship with someone who, all of a sudden refuses to pick up the phone! I’m sorry, email is not a good way to communicate when it comes to people being in hospitals and pets dying!

  • Loved this because it’s undoubtedly true.
    I’m only 20 yet I still love to write letters. Especially since there’s few things better than finding that golden egg of a letter in amongst all those bills!
    And in the letter; being able to see their frustration at frantically scribbled out words they couldn’t spell, as well as doodles to illustrate what they mean. Also handwriting is so much more personal, unlike computer letters which are monotonously uniform.

    Out of interest: What’s your opinion of Skype?

    • How wonderful that you get letters and those are great points you’ve made about the frantic scribbling!

      I’m not sure how I feel about Skype — for me — but I’m going to avoid using it for as long as possible. For others, especially those in long distance relationships or those who have family far away, I think it’s a wonderful invention.

  • I love this, so true. I much prefer a phone call to a text. Your right – I remember the days of coming home and being told so and so called, or finding a note left on my door by someone who was trying to get a hold of me. Even phone tag was sort of fun back in the day. Emails and face book messages have no personality.

    Before I got a smart phone I absolutely refused to text anyone. Their text messages were always immediately returned by me with a phone call. At which most people would be annoyed because they were “too busy to talk right now”. Uggggghhhh.

    I love that someone reposted this on facebook.

    • I have a couple friends that write excellent emails. They are the only ones that I enjoy their emails because they know how to give and take in an email conversation. Others need a little help because they write long-winded, self-absorbed emails and they are not that way in real life.

      I don’t hate emails all together, just why people use them as the only source of communication.

      LOL, I forgot about phone tag! It doesn’t even exist anymore … if someone isn’t home when you call, they’ll send you an email. That’s actually kind of sweet, especially if they email you in the middle of the night 🙂

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