Allowed. I’m one of those people who strongly believes that life is too short to talk on the phone.
Since ’95, since they brought mine the green plastic miracle with gray buttons and proudly put it on the table in the hall, I knew it would not be my favorite toy.
Yes, it was a great trick to have a landline with buttons and I still remember my first phone number. I also remember everyone’s obsession with the “impulses” consumed at every call and the entire market of steppes that developed around the fascination for phones. Even so, I realized for about seven years that I and the phone will always be good friends, but never friends.
And how could we have been? I have always been the agitated kind, who uses each finger of their hand for a separate activity. Sticking with the ear of the receiver and then the speaker of the mobile phone have always meant the same things: to sit still and be careful. And you know what’s the saddest part? That very rarely it happens that the one at the other end deserves your time and attention.
Not the other way around, but good friends can get you a coffee, and with your family and partner you can keep in touch through other mediums. Calls with them are needed for proximity, but they rarely last more than 5-10 minutes. Those who call you half an hour generally get bored, they want to sell you something or they need something. There are rare situations when you pick up the receiver and do good.
“Why do not you answer the phone?” it’s a job I’ve heard almost as often as “Why do you write so long articles?” In high school I heard from friends, and through college from angry ladies (no, I was not a Casanova, I was just a little unassuming).
I hear it now, in the age of smartphones when I manage to keep in my pocket a phone that neither rings nor vibrates and whose LEDs only react to some emails and messages. Sure, for parents and friends I make exceptions, but in general, if you want to contact me and don’t let me know you have a great chance to… I AM calling you later. Yes, even if you are that nice courier who always brings me the dumbbells bought at the discount. If it is prepaid and it costs 50 lei, leave it at the reception, because I left the tip there too…
To keep the message going, I must admit that this was one of the great bonuses of the Internet and the devices that took advantage of it. Although it became impersonal, communication began to predominantly rely on text and image, not voice. Let us not forget that at the beginning of mobile telephony SMS was a luxury, not a cheaper alternative to calls.
The thing with the text is that, although it has some handicaps in the emotion category, it forces you to structure your thoughts. If you want to tell me to take a donut on the way to the office, you need to write: “Hi, take me a donut.” Please!”. If you call me, you will invariably ring 5 times until I get caught, I will respond with no energy, because you just stopped my music and you will start with “Hi, how are you? Do you see how beautiful it is outside? Listen, are you on your way to that corner shop? Yeah? You’re doing me a favor too. If you can…. ” If I have a way and I can take you, I’ll take you. If I don’t, your voice won’t convince me to go back!
I’ve written about the typologies of people who keep you on the phone, so I don’t insist. What I’m trying to say is that they are less invasive methods of contacting someone, methods that do not imply that I should stop everything I was doing to make you wonder what Adam Driver’s name is. The notion of “urgency” seems to have become a very trivial task. Let’s help you: if you’ve known for two weeks, but now you want, then that’s not an emergency, it’s a sensation!
Not to mention the people who want to sell you something or the irritating robocalls. If in the field of online spamming, GDPR did a great job, at the telephony level things got worse. Not only do I have to lose 3 minutes to find out that Jamiefrom Bank X just wants to take a survey on my pension plan, but I have to lose another minute from a call you made to ME, let me know that my personal data is safe. You just called me without permission and without me giving you your number. Yeah, day, am I really?
Now, I know that the jobs of many do not allow them to not answer the phone (yes, even I make exceptions) and that there are many people who could even have genuine emergencies. I also know that many are more exasperated by ubiquitous notifications than missed calls.
But what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to not feel like throwing your china in your pocket for five minutes. Do not make you a bear or a non-communicative man. It just makes you a more careful character with his time. Let us not forget that most people do not want to have a conversation, but only to be heard talking.
The fact that phone or online calls don’t cost much anymore doesn’t make them cheap – the cost of time is still huge. Have you ever wondered why to all major companies and software manufacturers, is telephone support paid? Exactly for the reason indicated above: when he calls, the man is confused and agitated. When he has to write a message and articulate his thoughts, he has already sought a solution himself and knows more clearly what he wants. It also saves people’s time from support, but also their own reserve of nerves.
So, the next time a friend of yours calls you at six months old (the kind who “doesn’t even like Facebook” gives you) because he’s stuck in Ratb and gets bored, remember that after five minutes are charged …
P.S: Basically, I could summarize this whole article to the famous “Don’t call, I go out from time to time”.