Do You Text or Do You Phone?
Author Stephanie McAfee had me laughing within the first couple of pages of Diary of a Mad Fat Girl. When Graciela "Ace" Jones starts complaining about how her best friend, Lilly Lane, loves texting and will avoid talking on the phone, I was nodding my head in sympathy ... with Lilly. Yes, it's true, I avoid the phone.
"Call me. I will never understand the logic of sending a text message that says call me. Lilly Lane is one of those cellular addicts who could carry on a full-fledged six-hour conversation via text message. Sometimes her messages are so encrypted with abbreviations that I just pick up the phone and call her, which pisses her off. She's like, "I'm texting you. Why are you calling me? If I wanted to talk to you I would've texted you and told you to call me." (Page 2)
Ok, so maybe I'm not quite as bad as Lilly. I don't think I've ever texted someone for six straight hours. I hate abbreviations in my text messages. Yet I can't deny that one of the things that I love most about my smartphone is that I rarely use it as a phone.
I wasn't always this way. When I was a teen I loved the phone and could talk on it for hours at a time. In college I went through a string of long-distance relationships and the phone was our relationship lifeline. So what happened?
What killed the telephone fun for me was a job. I was spending four or more hours on the phone every day. There were days when I had over seven hours of scheduled calls in an eight-hour work day. Part of that is just the reality of working in a remote office -- you are going to spend a bit more time on the phone -- but the amount of time I spent on the phone in that job was actually preventing me from being able to do my job. I came to resent the telephone. The last thing I wanted to do after a day on the phone was get back on it to chat with my friends. After I quit that job, I don't know if I made more than a half-dozen calls for the next month. It was bliss.
I still prefer IM or email to picking up the phone and calling someone, but there are times when the phone is just easier. Sometimes I can get more done in ten minutes on the phone than an hour in email. And since I work from home, it is nice to pick up the phone and actually hear people's voices from time to time.
I have to confess that I still cringe, just a bit, when the phone rings outside of work hours, but I'm getting better. I wouldn't say I'm really eager to hop on the phone these days, but I'm no longer kicking and screaming at the thought of it. I've even gone as far as suggesting the odd Skype date with friends who don't live locally.
So yes, I'm getting there. But if you are going to call me, could you do me a favor? Please text me first.
Are you a phone person? Or do you prefer textual communication?