I've always been something of a phone-phobic. Admittedly when I was a teenager I was capable of notching up marathon stretches of telephonic communication, but over the years I've become increasingly wary of the phone. The advent of sms messaging and email have made this avoidance of telephone conversations even more acute. Why chat when you can text? I rarely actually answer my mobile phone - half the time I can't hear it, and the other half of the time it is inconvenient or in a place where any sort of telephone conversation would be inappropriate. This of course marks me out as an old fashioned soul - I'm aware that most people will answer their phone wherever they are and regardless of who they are actually interacting with in person. Like a fool, however, I still cling to old-fashioned notions of politeness - one of the most important being that you should always pay careful and complete attention to the person you are speaking to.
And I can just ignore phones. It fascinates me that most people can't. Message bank is there for a reason people! If I don't feel like answering the phone, I simply won't. Sometimes (and this may shock some) I even switch it off.
But having to call people bugs me - I love seeing people, I love text messages and emails and God knows I love real letters, but telephoning someone to speak to them directly increasingly strikes me as a chore to be avoided. I have long lists of people whose phone calls I need to return, but I never do get around to making them. Indeed, I have just stumbled across such a list, and it dates back to 2002! Not one of those seemingly essential phone calls ever made! And yet life went on.
So if I don't respond to your call within ten minutes or you can only get through to my message bank, please don't take it personally. I'm just choosing to manage my life in a way that suits me. If it's really urgent, send me an email.
Or better still, a letter - I almost always answer those.
3 hours ago