Yes, once again I’ve gone too long without writing and either I should apologize, stop apologizing, or admit that I can’t write as regularly as I’d like. I don’t know where the time goes but I’ve never been good with time. It gets away from me though it feels much shorter a lapse than it actually is. But here I am and I may even write two today.
I want to comment on an article I read, though it was awhile ago. In the September 2011 issue, Readers Digest reprinted an article by Pamela Paul that originally appeared in the NY Times. It was called “Is it Rude to Make Phone Calls” and the article supported the position that indeed it is. The article ends with the following:
“Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. ‘Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, said. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.’ ”
As Jack Benny would say with a huffy breath, “Well!”
Don’t get me wrong. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and I even agree that some aspects of the phone can be really irritating. Like pre-recorded telemarketing. Like telemarketers who call during dinner and don’t let you get a word in, forcing you to be rude when you hang up on them. Recorded appeals for votes by political candidates is also annoying. If they can’t be bothered to ask for my vote themselves, why would I think they’ll hear me on anything else?
Anyway, I digress. Yes, the phone can be annoying. So use caller ID and don’t take the call. Hang up. Tell someone you’ll call them back at a more convenient time. People can do any number of things to enjoy the voice contact without being overwhelmingly inconvenienced or intruded upon. And hey, being interrupted is part of life. If someone can’t handle a momentary interruption, they’re in for a shock as life goes on.
But at least most people have a choice. My communications are text and email only because I’m deaf. I used to be able to talk on the phone and while I wouldn’t want to go back to the endless hours of gabbing with people, I would still love to be able to hear the voices of loved ones. I’d love to be able to chat with a friend. I’d love to be able to make my own appointments. I’d love to hear the happy voice of someone I care about saying, “hi!” I’d love to hear my kids voices say, “talk to you later Mom. Love you.” “TTYL Mom Love U” works, but it’s the warmth of their voices that turns that love into a hug when we’re not together.
I do try to talk to Darling Hubby on the phone. I guess living with him all these years has helped me make words out of his grunts. My brain has somehow learned to interpret the muffled sounds as a language. I’m not always correct, I make him repeat endlessly, but it’s worth it for us to say “I love you” out loud. (More on this topic in the next post so don’t go away. Not “I love you” – the brain interpreting!) And I can’t tell you how much it means to me that my husband, children, dearest friends, and I regularly say I love you when we’re ending a converation or parting. Even in email. But sometimes you just want to hear it with your ears.
So Pamela Paul, Miss Manners, and many others have an opinion, but they also have a choice. I don’t and maybe they don’t realize what it’s like not to have that simple luxury.
It might have been a commercial but these days, compared to texting, email, social media messages, etc., “Reach out and touch someone” means something. And a voice is almost a touch. At least that’s my opinion.