I don't know just when it happened. One day I was a care-free kid chatting with my BFF Charlotte, who was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia...then all of a sudden...it was like I couldn't summon up the courage to make a phone call. Not all phone calls filled me with anxiety...I could call my grandmas or phone home for a ride. My self-diagnosis (I also hate doctors) has proclaimed it a severe case of "Telephobia." Family and well-meaning friends are baffled by this...they think I should just snap out it. One friend, a Captain in my DUP group, assigned me to be a Reminder Caller for meetings. She assured me it would be a helpful cure for my problem. After a full day spent staring at the phone with sweating palms and a stomach painfully knotted...I finally made the calls... pathetically grateful for every answering machine that picked up! I refused to accept any more such assignments. Please tell me I am not alone in this!
That was our telephone number when we moved to American Fork in the early 60's. Remember when Ma Bell was a monopoly and we didn't even own our telephones? The phone company sent a guy to install a telephone...that probably looked like this one...
|Colors? We had a choice of black...or black!|
...or this one on the left.
The Party Line...
I still remember the day I discovered we were on a party line. I was blissfully chatting away about "who knows what" when a shrill voice broke into our conversation. "Get off the phone!" she demanded. "I have to make an important call!" All I knew about party lines I learned from "The Andy Griffith Show." Were we living in Mayberry now? It sure wasn't Aunt Bea on the line. One day to get even I picked up the phone when she was busy gossiping about something or other. "Blah, blah, blah!" I mocked...assuming she was just some stranger. "Shirley Devey!" she squawked, "Get off the phone right now or I'm telling your mother!" Yikes! I dropped the phone and hid. I don't know if this was the inciting incident for my Telephobia...but it certainly didn't help matters.
The Princess Phone...
My friend Carrie had a pink princess phone. She also had her own room with white shag carpeting, canopy bed and white French Provincial vanity with matching seat. I shared a room with a little sister who sucked her fingers and wet the bed. No princess bedrooms in our house! To be fair...Carrie was generous with her toys and we spent many happy hours prank calling cute boys in our fourth grade class. I still remember Robbie's number...SK 6-4757. It was almost my number, which is why I haven't forgotten. Of course...when it was my turn to call, the boy's mother picked up the phone and chastised me. "Nice girls don't call boys!" she informed me. Could this be the reason I hate phones?
I don't know.
Phones and Me Today...My Quirks
After many cell-phone free years, George finally convinced me I needed to have one...for emergencies. It would have to be an emergency...like the "End of the World"... for me to make more than one call a month. I have used it once or twice...to call him. My Blackberry is mostly used for email and reading Facebook. I once mentioned to a friend that Blackberries should only be used to make jam....or maybe pie.
My Quirks and Unwritten rules:
- I use my answering machine to "Screen Calls" from names and numbers I don't recognize.
- Any phone call to our house will only be answered by me...because the other members of the household can't hear a ringing phone...even if it's right next to them! Sheesh!
- I never answer Toll-Free Number calls...or political "Robo Calls."
- I won't accept any Church calling that requires me to make phone calls...emails are okay, but texting gives me a headache.
- If a friend says "call me back"...I will.
- If a stranger or someone I don't care for says "call me back"...I most likely won't.
- If you text me...I may not see it for a few days because my phone is in my purse in the car.
- I always enjoy talking to my family...but I seldom call just to chat.
- I don't know anyone's current phone number...not even the one on my own mobile.
This is my sad, sad story...of an illness that has no known cure or support groups. There is no telethon to raise money for my treatment...no operators are standing by. I can never pick up the phone when the announcer says "Be one of the next 10 callers and get an extra Snuggie for your dog...just add additional postage and handling."
|Have a Lovely Day!|