Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Telephobia...A Love/Hate Affair!

I Hate Telephones!
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 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!

Skyline 6-4758...
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 the "End of the World"... for me to make more than one call a month.  I have used it once or 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.
In Conclusion...
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 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."

There, there!  Don't weep for me.  Use one of these adorable polk-dot tissues to dry your tears.   On a more serious note...they may not have telephones in Heaven per se, but God doesn't have a party line.  I can call Him any unlimited talk and text required.

Have a Lovely Day!

10 comments: said...

Hahahaha! Funny post:) I too must answer all calls to our home phone ~ the hubbs seems to got deaf when it rings!


vintage grey said...

Hi Shirley!! I wish am not a fan either of calling, but I do wish to have an older corded phone to make it more pleasurable!! Have a great night!! xo Heather

Holly- Cutie Pie Cottage said...

Great post, Shirley! The same thing happened to me! I used to talk for up to an hour on the phone with girls friends- even up into my 30s but now? I hate the phone! That's probably why I blog.

The other day, I had to deliver a meal to a sick mom but first I had to CALL her to get directions to her house. Oh how I dreaded making that phone call1 Ha! Once it was over, everything was fine but my was that hard!

Betsy said...

Hi Shirley,

I just got done reading your post during my lunch hour at work and was laughing out loud! You are describing me! When the phone rings at our house, we all freeze with that deer in the headlights look on our faces. If my husband hears it, he'll usually answer and then I have to wave my hands frantically and mouth "I'm not here!" I think back to when I used to talk to friends on the phone and can't imagine how I did it. I have had to get used to making phone calls at work, but prefer e-mailing. I do remember that sweaty hands feeling when I first started having to make those calls! And I thought I was the only person who doesn't know their own cell phone number. My kids make fun of the phone--it's so old you can't do anyting but make calls and do some very basic texting. Just my style! Would you believe I have a reproduction pink princess phone in my room? I just couldn't resist it when I saw it at Goodwill. But I hate it when it rings!

Thanks for a very fun post!


Lisa Jo said...

Yup have phone call anxity too. Oh i bet your Little sister just loved the wetting the bed comment :)

Cindy said...

Ring a Ding....hello Shirley?

Loved this storey and all the graphics you used. Love the way you tell stories!!

Please tell me you aren't on any emergency round robin telephone

I love that you chat on

Hugs and squeezes...Cindy fear....tight dark places.

Jenny's Heart said...

LOL Amen :)

Linda Ruthie said...

You are not alone! I'm not sure when I began to dislike answering the phone, (my dad always hated answering the phone.) probably when telemarketers came into exsistance. Thank goodness for caller ID! I've always dreaded making business phone calls such as making appointments. I'm a great procrastinator when it comes to this. I've had a cell phone since I was expecting my son, 15 years ago. It's usually turned off as I regard it for emergency use.
Thanks for shating your phobia. Now we know we aren't alone. ♥

The Cottage Market {Andrea} ♥ said...

alas i am embarrassed to say i still talk and talk and talk! i guess it is the Italian blood pumping through my veins -- no anxiety here lol!!! i do multi task while i chat though -- really i do -- i paint -- sand -- cook -- even type or list on etsy i think i will be talking till that final day -- st. peter's first words will probably be shut up please or i won't let you in! : ) LOL!!! hugs my friend!

Carolynn said...

Hi Shirley!
Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I feel your pain...I hate having my phone invade my day...or even worse, my evening!
It's funny the things we remember from childhood, like my grandparents phone number.... Congress77166.
Thanks for the cute diagnosis, my friend!
Carolynn. :)