I had never before encountered someone so fascinated with the phone. I remember sitting in my closet, shifting the bulky grey handheld to my other ear and trying not to sigh too deeply.
She would call, and I would cringe, knowing that there would be long awkward pauses and I would frantically wrack my brain to find a topic—a question—anything to break the awful silence. What on earth was one supposed to talk about on the phone?
Even without the cord, I felt trapped. I had no idea how to politely end it without feeling like I’d slammed the phone version of a door in her face. And that was not a kind thing to do. Not at all. So I would sit in the closet, fiddling with the shoes while I desperately tried to ask questions which would lead to real conversation instead of two-word answers.
Thus began my deep-seated disdain for the telephone. I developed a habit of writing piles of letters instead, (and I’m fairly certain my parents had a budget category specifically for stamps), but the phone I despised.
At least, I thought I hated the phone.
Now, years later, I think what I really hated was the lop-sided nature of the thing. I sensed—but could not articulate—that both conversation and friendship ought to be a balanced give and take. I felt crushed under the pressure of carrying the whole thing, and decided I hated telephones.
Poor little phone, taking all the blame.
As a side note, I now realize that the friend on the other end of the line was giving in the best way she knew: by calling. Perhaps those pauses scared her too. But she continued to bravely push past the awkwardness and pick up the phone.
This post is day #2 in a month-long challenge to post daily for the entire month of October. To check out other bloggers doing the same thing, visit www.write31days.com.
Photo credit: Eddl