Hold the Phone

I’ve admitted before that my parents were freaks. They totally own it, so I don’t feel guilty for putting it out there for them to read or not, because, you know, whatever. One way in which they were not much like other parents is that they only made rules about important things like telephone etiquette. Consequently, I have some phone hangups. For example, salutations are scripted.

“Hello. May I please speak to Populist?”
“Hi, Pop. This is Mom-a-Tron.”
“Hi, Mom. What’s up?”

See? How sweet is that?

There’s also:

“Hello. May I please speak to Populist?”
“Populist isn’t available at the moment. May I take a message?”
“Yes. Please tell him Mom-a-Tron called.”
“Okay, does he have your number?”

Shut up. Back in the day people talked to people on the phone or they didn’t talk on the damn thing. No machines, no computer generated voices, no status updates.

Right? I like the scripts, so don’t get all caller ID-y on me. What am I supposed to say when you answer the phone with, “Hi! Mom-a-Tron.” Because then I’m all, “Uh, hi. This is Mom-a-Tron.” DUH! Follow the rules, people.

My parents had other phone scripts too. Since people can only call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. with an hour of cushion in case something is important like a 9:59 p.m. call that Denveater and I already ate so we’re going to Tracyland to make friendship bracelets, all calls received after 10 p.m. or before 8 a.m. must be answered with a terrified, “WHAT’S THE EMERGENCY!?!” Peace in the City and I had a quick ring code, so I sorta busted this one a couple of (thousand) times. Those were emergency calls though. As a mature woman nearing her 20th reunion, I’m much more fond of the restricted call times and more aware that John Stamos worship isn’t exactly an emergency.

My parents also insisted that it’s sick and wrong to call someone and chat for longer than it takes for an in-person visit. Come sit in my messy freaking house and let’s chat (no presumptions though, call first). Otherwise say what you gotta say and hang up already. Though by that logic Populist and I could talk for 39 hours and 32 minutes. Since he knows that I don’t like the phone, he doesn’t call anyway. He’s e-awesome like that.

The phone philosophy and resultant rules stemmed from my folks’ belief that the phone is an interruption. Maybe you were looking for a pack of smokes, yelling at your kids, or aerobicising while singing Karaoke to Rita Coolidge (you know you want to) when – BRING! YIKES! Holy cow, that phone is loud. I am supposed to drop what I’m doing and answer it all nice and happy like? Yes, because what if it’s important? That reminds me. Never, not ever, should you call someone or answer the phone at dinner time. Even death can wait until after roast, rice, and gravy.

Yup. The phone is a tool. It’s not an application. It’s not an accessory. It’s a tool. And if you are passing out my home number to someone who expects me to do something for them, then you are a tool too.

8 thoughts on “Hold the Phone

  1. Denveater says:

    Same! But at least your parents set clear rules. My mom just imparted to me a sheer, abiding contempt for phone-as-analog social network and the people that used it thus that left me with an overgeneralized dread of the thing, so that anyone who loves me automatically resents me because I almost never answer it. To compensate, I've become an online addict.

    So what are you going to teach your kids?

  2. CB says:

    Heheheh, says the woman who repeatedly answers Rebl's calls with, "Hi Rebecca!".

    I don't let my phone interrupt me. That's why I have voicemail. If I am talking to a friend or eating or actually DOING something, I will more than likely ignore your call and let it go to voice mail. Whoever I am with deserves my attention more than the interloper on the phone. I also don't like talking on the phone when other people are in the same room as I so if it is a call I must take I will also more than likely excuse myself and my phone.

    Unfortunately, I have none such etiquette when it comes to text messages. It could be important! 😉

  3. Rebecca Ballenger says:

    Ruth, I don't know what I'll teach the children about the phone. Things have changed so way lots. What do you suggest? We have no land line, just the mobile, and the kids use it strictly to impart information or invitations. I do coach them on appropriate scripts.

    Dennis, what am I forgetting?

    Catherine, I want an iPhone. I human too.

    Pop, you aren't ducking my calls since I'm a notorious non-caller as well as a non-answerer.

    CB, don't think I haven't noticed your rude texting behavior. 😉 You have witnessed me thrice ticked off at phone use during performances. With all the hubbub about it and the advanced requests for people to turn them the f*** off, I'm amazed when I hear phones go off while someone is performing. I'm even more buffaloed when they answer!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is Rebbeca there?
    Yes, is that all you wanted?
    Can I talk tto her?
    I supppose so since you are speaking to me. Did you mean to ask IF you MAY speak to her?
    Yes …
    Yes, what?
    I'll call back later

    Just remember ALL parents are freaks to their kids and in a short time one of your children will be on video live streaming to their Facebook friends about you!
    Love you. Hate moviegoers who answer the cell mid-film

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