Wednesday, September 14, 2011

That Invention Called The Telephone...

On days like today I think alot about telephones, for the simple reason I'm answering a ringing phone with regularity (some days are just busier than others).  I think about my love - hate relationship with telephones.  I think about the comments people have made to me regarding my voicemail messages on their phones, or my phone voice.  I also think of the more unique moments I've had while talking on the phone with someone. 
So, I've been told by a number of my friends that my voicemail messages are amusing to them, mainly due to their length.  That's alright, I'll laugh with my friends over my long-winded messages, but if you expect me to shorten them don't hold your breathe (not even for the duration of my messages - you might pass out).
Jokingly I tell interested parties that I leave long messages to compensate for my Dad's notoriously short messages.  A usual voice message from my Dad goes something like the, "call me."   I just like to elaborate on why they should call me, and if there is any backstory to that event they should probably know that to.  Actually if I leave a long enough message it might even make talking to the individual unnecessary (I don't always need replies).  I'm just happy to provide amusingly long messages for my friends...whatever brings a smile to their faces.
While my Dad tried to teach me by example the art of leaving a short voicemail message (or not leave one at all).  My Mom taught me the art of phone voice.  There were times in my childhood when my Mom would be voicing her displeasure with us children (rightly so - we didn't always do what we should have) and then the phone would ring.  It never ceased to amaze me that my Mom's stern voice could instantaneously mellow into the most pleasant "Hello." 
I'd stand there in the room listening to her speak to other person on the phone amazed that this was the same woman who had just been speaking to me.  I knew it was the same woman because though her voice had changed her eyes still told me that we weren't finished yet. 
I'm beyond thankful for that lesson in phone voice Mom, it's carried me in good stead on many occassions.  In my current office you never know what heated conversation or hilariously funny joke is being told, when the phone rings my "phone voice" comes out and it's like any other day. 
During the recent Viriginia earthquake I answered the phone as my desk, and the building began shaking.  I managed to make it through the standard greeting, and even answer my caller's first question before I calmly told him I would need to call him back we were having an earthquake.  After our shake down I called back our customer and explained what had happened and when I felt the movement.  He laughed and said you'd never be able to tell the ground was moving beneath me from the tone of my voice. 
Even more recently at work I managed to keep a level tone of voice as a creepy looking spider crawled over my arm and across my desk.  Yes, I might have jerked my arm back and frantically moved away from the offensive eight-legged creature, but my tone of voice as I answered the customer's questions never showed my level of distress.
The first time I distinctly remember using my phone voice during a crisis situation was in high school.  I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine, and distractedly running my finger along the wood window sill  in my room (don't ask me why - just something to do I guess).  Suddenly a large splinter came loose and lodged itself beneath my thumb nail all the way to the nail base.  Talk about nerve endings screaming at you.  In midst of my hurt and shock I remember calmly interrupting my friend to say I needed to go and would see them the next day at school.  The next school day I came in sporting a gauze bandaged thumb from where they had to remove my entire nail to get at the splinter. 
Earthquakes don't phase me, creepy spiders don't phase me, and large splinters don't phase.  What usually gets me on the phone is sleepyness.  Those phone calls you get that catch you in the middle of a nap, an early bedtime, or an even earlier morning wake up.  I just never seem to come awake quick enough to make much sense to the other person on the line. 
Obviously my abrubt awakening is not well hidden from my callers, because more often than not I received the comment, "Did I wake you?" 
When I lived in Utah I received the comment "Did I wake you" plenty of times.  Family and Friends back in Virginia would often forget about the two hour time difference.  I remember several times when my own family who are often ready for the start of their day before 7:00 a.m. would then call me at 7:00 a.m. (I mean who isn't ready to receive calls by that hour).  Of course their 7:00 a.m. was my 5:00 a.m. in Utah, which lead to some interesting early morning, barely coherent conversations :) 
All this to say, I have a love - hate relationship with the telephone.  Hope you enjoyed my random ramblings on the subject!

1 comment:

Lana said...

I have always loved your phone messages/conversations. Now I am always going to wonder what is happening on your side (since your voice really never gives anything away)! I do miss our conversations but I do agree (as you said in your email) that our timing really does not work out well.