I have a dirty little secret--I've always
hated using the telephone. Even when I was a teenager, I didn't call anyone, and generally, when my friends called me, I sat on the other end of the line hoping for a chance to hang up. (Remember when phones had cords? You were basically limited to how far the cord would stretch, and ours never went far enough so that I could get comfortable or else find something to occupy me because most of those conversations required nothing more of me than "mm-hms" because they wanted to talk, darn it, not listen to anything I
might have to say...)
It got really bad a few years ago when I foolishly volunteered on a distress phone line. It got so that I would cringe every time I heard the phone ring. I still have a vestige of that feeling to this day, even though that was almost twenty years ago. I fielded enough wrenching calls that I find it hard not to associate the phone with horror and heartbreak.
I have a cell phone, as I think I've admitted before on some other thread, and it's a relic "made of stone knives and bearskins", to quote Mr. Spock. Half the time I forget to turn it on; most of the rest of the time I don't notice it ringing until it's too late. I don't give the number out to anyone except those that I can trust not to abuse it. I don't want
to be available to everyone 24/7. Only my husband and son have that privilege.
Oddly enough, the one "modern" convenience (and I use the term loosely, since most people now seem to find this an amusingly antiquated method of communication) that I use on a regular basis is email. Not only do I use it, I flatter myself that I use it fairly well and in fact prefer it to most face-to-face communication because I can edit, compose, re-draft, and ditch entirely if upon further reflection I deem it necessary. I don't know if this preference has contributed to the breakdown of my face-to-face conversational skills or if was my lack of ability in the latter that led to the former, but I do enjoy writing emails (and eHell posts!) and the fact that I type (and think) very, very fast makes the whole thing infinitely easier for me. (Years of speech therapy for a rate control problem and almighty hard work on my part have improved my ability to speak to others, but it's tiring and I tend to slip when I get excited and/or agitated.)
And has anyone noticed that people frequently think nothing of interrupting one in the middle of a sentence? That really throws my rate control out of whack. It's not just children anymore. I've heard that half of the time in a conversation, while the other person is speaking, one isn't listening but is really composing one's next statement. People don't even compose their statements anymore; they just blurt out anything that shoots into their minds, even over top of another's speech. Is it the fact that instant communication leads to a compulsion for instant gratification? The two seem to be connected, but I've always strictly maintained that correlation does not equal causation.
(Or should I be enrolling in grad school to test this thesis?