Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In Defense of Talking on the Phone

Caution: Old Lady Rant Ahead

I frequently see friends post on Facebook in frustration with the people who still call them instead of simply texting like normal human beings do. I get it. I feel the same way most of the time. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized how important it is to talk on the phone.
 Social Media connects us. That's a fact. We ooh and awwwwe at our friends photos. Those photos of babies, or pets, or of your latest trip, or even of what you had for lunch are all important. I mean, how am I going to know what dish I want to make next if you aren't posting your latest triumph or the latest video from Tasty. I might be unique in that if you're my friend, I love seeing the minutiae of your life. If you are someone I love, and my friends I do love you, then I don't care if you post 3,000 selfies or photos of your feet, or videos of rollercoasters I will never ever ride. That's ultimately a large part of what friendship is to me, knowing who you are and being known by you.
But no matter how much we share online, there is no replacement for talking on the phone. There is no replacement for hearing absolute joy in someone's voice nor is there a replacement for when someone honors you by sharing their pain as their voice breaks into nothingness. There is a vast space between those two feelings where we are able to share who we are. I love the moments when friends are trying to find a quiet place in their home to talk, you hear their kids and possibly their dog but they are carving out time and space in their chaos to connect to you. I've been known to hide in my closet while on the phone to secure a few moments of privacy.
When I think about talking on the phone, I think about my family first. When I'm out of town without my husband we end any evening phone calls with "Good night" instead of "Goodbye." My son calls from college to check in and talk through possible plans for his life with us. I think about my husband talking to his mother and hearing the love for him in her voice. I think about my mom, who calls from next door to ask me how to do something on her computer. (That usually ends with a quick visit to her house- Parental IT specialist at your service.)
I think about hearing my friend's voices from across town and across the miles. I think about the number of times I've laughed until I could not breathe while on the phone with a friend. I think about the different voices in my life. I think about the accents, oh Lord, the accents. The sharp Northern accent and the slow Southern drawl. My friends from the Midwest and West who insist they do not have an accent. (newsflash: you do.) I think about the many different type of laughs that bring light to my life. You can't get all of this without a phone call.
Now I'm not saying I haven't let my share of phone calls roll on over to voicemail. That happens. Probably a little too frequently. But I always try to find a time to make the phone call happen. I hope you'll try, too.

Sidenote: I thought about mentioning that I wanted to set a good example for my daughter but then I'd also have to write about FaceTime and Skype and video chat features on Facebook and Snapchat which would devolve into something not pretty involving whippersnappers and me eventually resorting to shouting "GET OFF MY LAWN."

Be kind to yourselves and one another.
It's important.

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