Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phone Phobia

Does anyone else have this?

The phone rings (do phones still ring?): I jump.

My mobile vibrates: my heart does a belly flop.

Someone comes online on skype: I'm terrified they'll call me.  I hide.  I appear offline when I'm not.

I want to be inaccessible, unreachable, untethered, until I want to reach out.  I don't exactly know why I don't like being reached out to (in fact I do in so many ways), but when it comes to the phone, I appreciate being undesired and unpopular.

I will happily talk to any of you in a public forum.  Come to my house, let's meet at a party, we can even go to a bar (though my heart is beating faster now considering these options), but I must see you face to face to have real, meaningful, non-threatening conversation with you.

Skype, the life-blood of many, scares me.  I don't want to be caught off guard, never mind having to turn on the video for my interloper to see my bra-less, make-up less, frazzle-haired self.  No, I have to plan my conversations, work up to them, finesse them and be able to make eye contract and show my listening skills through tilted head and appropriate uh-huhing.  For me, none of this can be accomplished through audible technology.  The pauses and interruptions are frequent and the discomfort I feel is palpable to the people I'm "chatting" with.

I am, at heart, a very private person.  Even at home, I hover in the bedroom while my children and husband horse around downstairs.  I hope for them to come up and read with me or do yoga or discuss world issues or watch "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, but I do not gravitate to people and noise and music even.  I go toward the silence, the comfortable chair, the 800 page character study novel that renders most people stupefied by its incessant banal detail.  That is my life blood.

My sister, not me, doing what I love best.
(She's a bit phone-phobic, too.)

I am so glad I met my sweetheart before Al Gore invented the internet because I am not a long distance relationship kind of gal.  I want you to be right there in the next room, ready to talk on a moment's notice, not down the street or in another town or in another country, god forbid.

All this makes me sound like I'm completely anti-social.  I'm not.  I love being with people.  I love my friends.  I love intimate gatherings with wine and finicky little appetizers that come on toothpicks.  I love telling stories and being the center of attention.  But talk as I might and as mightily as I do, when I am done, I am done. Then I must be promptly teleported home to the bedroom with the door closed, a hot bath run, crosswords ready, clever comedies geared up, some popcorn thrown in for good measure.

I have high expectations for the quality of my relationships but not for the frequency or duration of connection. I am quite lovable, I think, and I think those I love are too so we are in happy company when we find ourselves in the same room.  It just doesn't have to be all the time.  And it certainly doesn't have to be on the phone.

My new start for the day?  To text my friends more often in order to set up more face time.  Real face time, not the virtual kind.

Yes, I DO take pictures with phones, I just don't TALK on them!

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