Sometimes I feel like The New York Times lives inside my pee-wee sized microcosm of a brain, sussing out my deepest, most intrinsic (but make no mistake, incredibly banal) thoughts, to exploit them into feature stories for their paper and magazine. Other times, I feel like it is my great grandfather from Austria (disclaimer: I have no family from Austria) but that’s irrelevant.
Caeli Wolfson Widger recently wrote a story titled “Why I Silence Your Call, Even When I’m Free” for the magazine. When I read the headline, I made like Sally (of Ephron fame) and yelled, “Yes! Yes! Oh! Yes!”
When I read the story, I found that her anecdote was endearing. Recounting the all-too-familiar experience of watching someone’s name pop up on your phone screen while from your computer, you maniacally refresh your twitter feed thus inferring at least some time to take a call and yet still ignoring it, I nodded in complete agreement with all the nuances she described to successfully eschew the prospect of phone to ear.
Often I, too, will let the call go to voicemail and then text whoever rang to say “sorry! So busy!”
Let it be known, I’m not that busy.
Widger goes on to touch upon an important question: why won’t we just take the damn call? The problem is, she doesn’t really answer it. Instead, she offers her own personal resolution by way of a lesson learned (the friend she was subtly ignoring really needed her to listen right then and there on that day while she grieved about the circumstances of her domestic and occupational situation) while the rest of us are left hanging, wondering why our un-listened-to voicemail count remains at a staggering 11, and the collection of missed calls from our moms, best friends, significant others and so forth continues to go missed, even when they don’t have to.
The other problem is, I don’t really have an answer. I just know that I hate talking on the phone. It may have started as an anti-cancer ploy, underpinning my reluctance to allow radiation to penetrate my brain but lately too, I’ve been finding myself liable to get in trouble when I do take calls.
Being on the phone never detracts from my being on the computer and often because it is the visual behemoth staring me right in the eye, I will pay much more attention to it than I will to the words being transported via cell. And then I will agree to do things I didn’t want to do just to get the phone call over with (examples of such run the gamut from dinner with relatives I really never wanted to see again to writing a full length feature story for a magazine that doesn’t actually exist at something like, six cents a word) and then I have to wonder, well, what now?
Do you know what I mean?
Okay then! I’m going to turn the mic over to you. What’s the big deal with taking a call? What are we putting off?