Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Phone


A very good friend of mine has a “first” grandbaby, born six weeks ago, and I have not talked to her yet. She lives in Maryland, but that’s no excuse, because there’s always “the phone.”

I’ve lived in many cities across three states, been employed at various places from ages fifteen through thirty-six, been a member of two churches, and now have kids at two schools. In all these places, I’ve made new friends. Many have dropped by the wayside; many, I still have. And then there are the relatives…lots of them.

How do I keep in touch!

I think I’m considered a “people person” because I can talk to almost anyone; occasionally, for long periods of time.

The problem: there is only twenty-four hours in a day. I enjoy talking, but my other interests and obligations take up significant amounts of time.

So what do I do?

When I’m home, I answer most recognizable calls, but when voice messages are left, I take days to return the call – sometimes a week or two. Ouch. I’m guilty.

Of course, I always answer phone calls from my husband…I do! But, we’ve discovered email works for us too, therefore, we don’t take up too much of each others time during the fleeting day. (My second shift starts at 2:45 when darling daughter # 3 gets off the school bus and I have to be ready to talk to her.)

Sometimes you gotta talk. It’s a girl thing. I have two close friends that are my “let me run this by ya" friends. We have to be available to each other for venting, favors, questions, and just, “how ya doin’ today.”

Oops…forgot about Mom. We talk once or twice a week. Gotta hear the latest gossip and get an update on all the latest ailments that she and my stepfather are having; plus she has to be my “mom” and make sure I’m “livin' right.”

When my phone rings in the evening, it’s typically a “quick” call from an over-worked mother. Other times, it’s someone who doesn’t have kids or their kids are gone. It’s their “free” time.

Some tell me to call back when the kids are settled, but by that time, I’m talked-out for the day.

Sooo…things probably won’t change for awhile. Just know that I love talking to you – just not right now.
.
Just kidding. :)

Most of you probably have limitations on your phone time, too – or do you? What’s your phone time modus operandi?

I love all the conversations I've had with you. Surprise me by leaving a comment on a past post. Just click on a thumbnail below, or browse the labels and archives to the left of this post. Comment notification allows me to see all new comments.

28 comments:

Trish said...

Well, its not so much my limitations, its everyone elses. With small children, chaos is a way of life, and majority of people I know dont have kids and cant take the chaos in the background and so they say call me back when things settle down! That would be never.

We sound a lot alike when it comes to talking, my husband says I talk way too much and just starts to tune me out after a bit! Cant wait until my kids get older so I can talk their ear off!

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I miss the days of visiting over the telephone or through real letters. Everyone seems content with snippets of conversation to keep in touch now. I'm old enough (52) to remember talking for a long time on a real land line phone with friends or visiting over lengthy letters. That rarely happens anymore. People are content with tweets and facebook snippets or distracted conversations on cell phones while doing other things like driving or shopping.

Kasie said...

we don't have a landline. My husband & I have used our cell phones for well over 5 years. Madison made a comment the other day... "you know mom, back when people used to have phones in their homes". Boy times are changing huh?

Anyway, my phone time is limited... like you said, who has time. As bad as it sounds... I use drive time to make/return some calls. I also enjoy talking on the phone when I'm cleaning... it makes cleaning up not so bad :)

Tabor said...

I am a people person, but my many moves have made it all but impossible to keep close ties to old friends scattered here and there. If I travel their way I stop by, but my life is now quick emails or comments on FB.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

I understand completely,and I don't have children at home anymore. Where has all our time went to just sit and talk? I'm also awful at returning calls. It's not that I don't care,I just keep putting it off until I get the "Why havn't you called"?speech. Glad to know that I'm not the only bad correspondent.

Kate said...

It was strange reading your post tonight as I'd just earlier ignored the phone when it rang. The kids were in bed and things were peaceful, but I just felt too wiped out from the day to talk to anyone. I think my phone limit time comes once the kids are in bed - ironic considering that thats the only time I can actually hear anyone speak!!

Jen said...

I've never been much of a telephone conversation fan. I only talk to Poker Guy for 20 minutes and I'm ready to hang up. Other people get 5 minutes. I'd rather visit in person.

Anita said...

TRISH, I remember talking to friends who had noisy kids in the background, and it was hard to talk. Also, I've talked to moms who try to talk to me while constantly answering questions from their kids. I could never get a complete thought out.
So I guess if a conversation works, regardless of the distractions, then I guess it's worth it. :)

CINDY, I miss the mail, too. I loved getting letters, sitting down to read something hand written. I still love stationery too, even though I hardly use it now.

KASIE, I see lots of people using the cell nowadays. I don't use mine much - only for necessities. But, if I didn't not have the land line, I would be using it like you use yours.
Like Madison implied, things are really changing.

TABOR, I must admit that I like email too. I'm just starting to use Facebook, but just a little. It's all so convenient.

AIMLESS, 24 hours is still 24 hours just like it's always been. I agree with you about the time not seeming to be enough these days. What are we all doing! :)

KATE, I totally understand. Kids can really zap all of our energy. I think we owe it to ourselves to take the peace and quiet wen we can get it. :)

JEN, I've known people that just don't "do" the phone. Many years ago, I figured it out and learned to not take it personally.
I might end up being like that some day...naaaahhh. :)

the mom said...

I try not to use the phone because of the cost, not because it's stealing time.
I call my mom, dad grandmother and best friend, all in Sweden. My friend in Spain skypes me, and tell me I'm crazy not having a skype phone. Just I haven't really got the hang of what it really is yet...
Me and my husband have got a special deal calling each others cells, but since he's often abroad, we end up spending quite a lot keeping in touch.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

First, I just have to say what a totally cute photo of the doggy! I don't spend much time on the phone except with a weekly call with my Mom. We can talk a long time. LOL Most people I trade email with.

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

Anita said...

THE MOM, Phone usage is relatively inexpensive here; I guess because we're in such a large country.
I haven't had to make a call outside of the country in years, so I don't know what that would cost.
Maybe you should investigate the Skype. I don't know anything about it, but I think if your computer has a camera (a little hole on the monitor, maybe) facing you, and if you have the software, I would imagine that it would cut the expense of using the phone to communicate. Maybe? I'm just guessing.

JULIE, I was hoping someone would notice my little doggy, Layla. :) I expecially used that photo, just because I caught her peeping up at me.
I must admit, I LOVE the email too. I wish more people would use it; especially out of town cousins.

Marla at Always Nesting said...

Good post. Thought provoking.

My oldest daughter and mother of my two baby grandkids and I talk every day. Sometimes short but usually at length, especially if she's having a tough day in mommyland and the babies are sleeping. It's so much fun to be asked for advice from the same daughter that, at one time, thought I didn't know anything. :)

Love chatting on the phone and catching up with friends and family but with everyone so busy...we just make time when we can.

Anita said...

MARLA, I feel the same...I talk when I can.
Mother-daughter relationships are special. It's nice that you are available for her, especially during "the baby years." :)
Thanks for visiting and following! Looking forward to sharing more thoughts with you. :)

gayle said...

I use to love to talk on the phone but now for some reason I pretty much hate to. I am bad like you about not calling people back when they leave messages. I have to force myself to make calls. Right now I need to call my cousin but I know if I do we will be on the phone for hours. Ugh!! I really need to work on this.

Dorraine said...

We did away with our land line because my husband has an office line inside which I can make local calls on. I've found that I don't call as much because of this even though I do have a cell phone.

Like you, Anita, I can talk a blue streak, but I've learned to limit my phone time and it's been not only surprising how much extra time I have gained but delightful too. I feel more in charge of the situation where as before other people were. I talk when I want or need to and it's been a blessing in disguise.

yonca said...

Oh, i am bad too about not calling people back. Ugh! That is my bad!

Tammy@ A Doctor in the House said...

Anita,
Of course you can tag along, if I can do the same! Thanks for stopping by.
Loved this post. Totally relate. I pick and choose times when I talk and sometimes go months before actually talking on the phone to my best friends. (guilty) But I manage to call my mom just about every day. I talk to one of my best friends by email every day, sometimes several times throughout the day. As a stay at home mom, it's imperative for me to talk to adults throughout the day.
Look forward to seeing more on here!

Anita said...

GAYLE, DORRAINE, YONCA, TAMMY, I can relate to what all of you have said, especially the time-consuming and control part DORRAINE. Caller ID is very helpful in deciding when to talk - after all, we do pay for our phone service, so we should decide when to use it. :)
TAMMY, happy to hear back from you, and seeing that we have the stay-at-home mom thing in common. :)

kys said...

I don't talk on the phone much at all anymore. I just don't have the time. And when I do talk, I will usually dust, clean the bathroom, or fold laundry at the same time. I hate to waste time.

melody said...

Well let me just jump right in. I thought I posted one comment but it seemed to have disappeared.

This is a very timely topic. I thought I was the only one who was guilty of not responding to phone calls everyday. I'm a person with out children and without a husband at this time in my life I am single. I want to say that this does not make me less busy. In fact I fill the time that would be spent with husband and children with other things that can be just as consuming. For the most part everyone understands that, I do however have a few friends who become very hurt by the fact that I can't spend hours on the phone everyday with them like I use to. This seems to be very very difficult for those few friends who feel this way. Sometimes though, I take the time to spend an evening just talking to friends and love ones and sometimes it can be just as rewarding as taking a candle lit bath, drinking a nice hot cup of hot herbal tea or watching my favorite girl flick.

Anita said...

KYS, I hate to waste time too! When I was much younger and employed, there were days when I waited eagerly for bedtime.
After marriage and children, I wished that I felt more energy so that I could get more done, but the children pretty much wiped me out.
But NOW...the children are not as demanding and I hate to see the clock ticking away. I wish there were more time in the day.
I tend to multi-task when talking on the phone too.

Anita said...

MELODY, welcome to the blogging world! Or, have you had a blog before? I see that you have actually set up a blog, but with no title, info, etc. Too much to say here, so I'll email you.
Anyway, I can relate to what you said, especially because I was well into my thirties before getting married, so I had a long single life.
There were certain assumptions made concerning MY time; I had no husband and children - what else could I possibly be doing if I was home.
But that still happens once in a while because I'm not employed. One nameless person calls me and then tells me to call her at specific times, without asking if the time was good or not. But, doesn't matter, because I don't make the call.
Most people are probably innocent when wanting to monopolize someone's time (hopefully). I guess they just like expressing their friendship on the phone. Or either they want to burden you with their problems. :)

THANKS EVERYONE FOR WEIGHING IN. OTHERS, KEEP COMMENTING.

Buckeroomama said...

The only time I have to "chat" with friends over the phone is when the kids are asleep, but then that's when I catch up on work or my blog... so yeah, I hardly chat with friends on the phone anymore. We do try to schedule lunch or meet up for coffee and that's when we can catch up.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Anita said...

BUCKEROOMAMA, I have coffee with a friend of mine about once a month, but she's one of the people that I talk to on the phone, too!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Anita, I hate talking on the phone unless it's to my mom or sister. Absolute hate the interruption, I think I'd rather have someone show up at the door. At least they can see I'm busy and make their own excuses to leave. For me facebook and sending cards at Christmas is enough of a catch up. I know, I'm terrible!

Anita said...

MENO NEW MOM-DEB, You're not terrible - you're honest. :)
Obviously, you have a full life. It's hard to be available for everyone.

ANYONE ELSE TO SHARE A THOUGHT?

Anita said...

Until you wrote this and made me think..........this never really crossed my mind, but our phone doesn't ring much at night. I'm home now while the kids are at school, so I usually talk to my parents, my sister and my friends from 8-2:45. My kids all have cell phones and the house phone is rarely -never for them..ha ha.
I was once a massive phone talker.........before the internet age, no I send emails and FB messages and I blog............so no one has an excuse about not knowing what is going on with my life!!

Anita said...

ANITA - I'm glad I gave you something to think about. :)
Seriously, I can imagine your phone scenario. In a few years, everyone at my house will have a cell too.
And you're right about all the other ways of communicating...like now, I'm "talking" to you!