Monday, September 20, 2010

Love/hate relationship with the phone...more hate than love ;-)

I'm happy to have a cell phone. Really. After all, I may need to call and get the time for a movie. Or check my account balance. No, wait-- I use the computer for those things.
Well, Papaw might ring to ask if he can stop by with some pie. (Always a "yes!") Sometimes I need to reach a friend to plan a playdate. Or call my neighbor and ask her to send my boy home for dinner.
But the stickin' phone also causes soooo many interruptions to my life. Even when I don't answer it.
There are some things you just shouldn’t do with a phone…
It's up for debate. This is just my opinion (and the opinion of possibly every person who has bought a phone scrambler. Too bad they're illegal.)

(Side note/ disclaimer/ fine print: I am not mad at anyone, nor am I thinking of any one person who has violated the phone etiquette rules. Heck, I'm sure I've violated them myself! I think this is all pretty minor. I just don't answer my phone most of the time, no biggie. This is more of a In-A-Perfect-World kind-of thought... I won't unfriend anyone if they answer the phone during dinner, so relax!! :-) It's all good. Now, on to the gritty...)

#1 Don't call me if you're bored. :-) Please.
I love my friends and family. I enjoy getting together with you, going to field trips, cooking club, crafting club, church, playdates, lunch outings. But I enjoy being WITH the people I'm with. If you aren't here, you can safely assume that someone else is. I have four little people All. The. Time. My kids practice enough "time playing alone nicely" when I have to make *necessary* (boring, unappealing, irritating) calls. So I don't like to just wander off and ignore them while I carry on an unnecessary and lengthy conversation. If you were standing right here, you could see that the 3-year old's nose just started bleeding, or my 5-year old slammed his own finger in the bathroom door. Or the neighbor kids are at the door wanting to play. Or that I was cooking while talking and now my stove is on fire. Or a million other things that can happen in 5 minutes. Not that any of those things have actually happened. Oh my.
But you're not here, so you innocently carry on, chatting away while I ...
a) drop the phone and deal with the issue at hand.
b) ignore any issues at hand because, after all, the phone trumps "real life,"
or c) rudely interrupt you to scream, "call you back," while grabbing baking soda and flinging it at the stove.

So I prefer to talk to people in person. Or on email, when I can rise and leave the computer whenever I need to. If we need to catch up, let's stick to a 5-minute update and plan a time to go grab a bite to eat. THEN we can talk!

- Okay, everyone owns a cell now. Which means, of course, that we can talk whenever and where ever we want, not that we shooooouuld. Which brings me to
Rule #2 It’s rude to talk on the phone in restaurants, libraries, classes...baptisms, funerals, museums... also during plays, in theaters, observatories. If the lights are off, your phone should be, too. ( or at least keep your phone on silent. Duh.) And weddings. Of course.
(yeah, this thing is REAL, click the picture to go to the site)
Annoying people by making disruptive noises has been on the "Miss Manners" list since the human body first learned to make nasty sounds on purpose.(Fred, did you hear that?!)

#3 It’s rude to talk loudly. I don’t mean the slightly-elevated speaking tone. I mean the STRAIGHT-UP-SCREAMING that I hear occasionally. Usually in a store. If you have to scream, wait until you're in your own home. Plus it makes you look super crazy if you’re walking down the street screaming into a hidden Bluetooth. (Besides, shouting itself is already an etiquette violation! Right, kids?)

#4 AhhBluetooth. (click it, you know you want to!) Great when you're driving, cooking, or when your hands are full... but not so useful for anything else. For goodness sakes, take it off your ear when you’re not on the phone. The thing is goofy-looking and it’s completely unnerving to talk to someone who could be on the phone with someone else. Plus the blinking light is distracting. Are you even expecting a call? Really? One thing I know for sure, if we take ourselves too seriously, life will be sure to humble us… publicly.
Take the cell phone out of your ear and truly “be” in the moment.

#5 Speaker phoning is completely unnecessary and obnoxious in public. There’s no reason why anyone should have to listen to both ends of your conversation. I did meet a sweet lady once who simply didn't know how to turn her speaker phone off. You can bet that I kindly helped her. :-) My good deed for the day!

#6 Yes, I know the Crackberries, the iPhones, and the rest of the techno-stuff is super addictive, but that doesn’t mean they should be permanently glued to your hand or ear! When you’re with someone, be with them (remember what I said above?) Do not constantly text in the company of others. (Yes, girl, this applies to you in the theater, even if you're sitting alone. Your screen light is still on.)
Focus on the person you're with, not your email, sports scores, online shopping, or texting your hubby 50 times in 10 minutes. Put the phone away when you're with someone (noooo, not on the table by your wine.)
#7 A kindergartner does NOT need a cell phone. Of course, in my humble opinion, no elementary child really -needs- a cell phone.

Sooo, if you leave me a message, and I send you an email back, now you know why. I'm not avoiding YOU, just the phone. If you call me when you know I'm home, and yet it goes to voicemail, you can safely assume that I'm busy. Because I do not ever answer the phone when I'm busy-- that means I do not jump up from dinner, or leap half-naked out of the shower to answer a possibly-important call. If it's important, you'll leave a message. Or, better yet, send me an email. I homeschool four children, run a household, pay the bills, try to maintain a social life, prayer life, family life, plus spend lots of time with my Man... so forgive me if I ignore the phone 90% of the time.

Okay, I'm done.
What do you think? Do you, like most women, love the phone? Am I just completely nuts for despising it as much as I do? Perhaps my phone-over-activity as a teenager has led me down this road, of phone-scorn? You know what they say about guys using up all of their words before they get home from work; maybe women also have life-time-phone-minutes, and mine are already gone?
Can we maintain that 5-minute max phone allowance for conversations?? If you need me, let me know. If it's important (really, think about that one-- if your cat puked up a hairball, or your kid stuck an aspirator in his mouth, then it is NOT important phone fodder,) then call and I'll talk. But if you're just milling over which movie you want to see or what color to dye your hair, jot me an email and I'll get back to you when I can. Now, if you happen to have email-scorn, then we'll just have to *gasp* get together in person!! ;)
Now, where did I put that stupid phone?


Anonymous said...

Neither Charlie or I have a cell phone. Joel recently got a texting phone but we didn't buy it for him. (And he's been driving on his own a yr & a half without a phone) When I meet a friend they will ask me to call on my way. When I say we MUST choose a time to meet because I don't have a cell phone I get annoyed looks. (You mean I have to commit to meeting you at a certain time? I might have to wait on you to get there!)

I don't want to be reached 24/7 & I still don't always answer my home phone.

I think most of this is the stage of your life. One day, you could be the person living alone & want to call just to talk. I try to consider that when I see who is calling me. Also, I'm not against owning & using a cell phone if you use some manners. I'd just rather spend my money on other really great stuff.

Let's not get started on my friend that I rarely see but when we get together she will call her dh 'just to talk' to him & talk 45 minutes. While I sit waiting with her in a restaurant or piddle around my house - time I'd saved to spend with her.


Shirley said...

LOVE this! I am also not a phone type - and if I don't answer it ... it's because I am busy. Calling back in 2.3 minutes will not help :) I will probably still be busy!
Growing up, I have 3 sisters, so we had a 5-minute phone limit - I guess it is ingrained in me.
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

About this phone thing, I get it, but I am a bit confused about this being in the shower half naked.

Never the less, just relax and enjoy the email comming down..

Regain the best part of this day.

Living Creatively said...

Jenny, I have two friends like that...but it's a texting problem. ;-/ I feel like sweetly saying "it looks like you need to catch up with your daughter/sister/husband, so I'll just see you another time."

Shirley, Amen. If I don't answer the first time, STOP CALLING unless it's actually an emergency.

Sinai, good point. I'm totally naked in the shower.

Anonymous said...

Wendy I agree. I have a couple in mind who come to visit, she chats and talks with us while he sits on our sofa texting, playing games or whatever with his phone. Somtimes I just want to say Wow...maybe you should've just stayed home since we're interferring with your game. :) But I don't, I bite my tounge and continue our visit. Sometimes I don't answer my cellphone when I'm out because I simply just don't feel like talking. Yet sometimes someone will just keep calling until I just turn the stupid thing off. Lucky for me we do not have cell service at our house unless you stand in the middle of the yard on one foot. :)