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3:01 p.m. - October 27, 2005
And The Operator Said 40 Cents More, For The Next Three Minutes...
For someone who likes to talk (well, probably likes to hear his own voice more than anything) – I sure don’t use the phone a lot.

Not to say that I hate the phone, I just don’t use it a lot.

I have the numbers of a lot of my friends and family stored in my cell phone, sure, but after mid-summer, when for the most part sleep depravation and idiocy reared its ugly head, I’ve barely called any of them.

No reason to, we have email.

I do call a couple of people once in a while to keep in touch, as they seem to be as hellishly busy as I am, and I’m overdue to make a call to someone (and you know who you are, and I’m sorrrry….and the phone works both ways, but I digress.). But really, there’s been no urgent rush to pick up the phone and while away the minutes.

My family all lives in town or close to it, so I don’t need to call them about what’s going on in my life. They already know (and probably know more than I do).

Liz uses the phone to call Snow White and her family, but they live far far away. And she knows to skedaddle upstairs when she’s on the phone. (There’s nothing more annoying to me than hearing someone else’s phone conversation if it’s longer than 15 minutes or so. Argh!)

It may be a male thing, or the way I’ve used the phone in the past.

Back in high school, I didn’t have a phone in my room. So any time I wanted to talk to a girl for a semi-private conversation, I had to go to my parents’ room, which always elicited suspicion.

And my pattern was usually this, especially if I was asking a girl out for the first time.

• Find the phone number.
• Check it twice.
• Dial the first six digits.
• Hang up.
• Dial the first six digits again.
• Hang up.
• Dial the number.
• Hang up during the first ring.
• Take 10 deep breaths.
• Dial the number.
• Hope no one answers.

Then if someone did, the conversations would be, " that wasn't me hanging up. Please Mrs. Avery, I just want to talk to her...I'll only keep her a while.."

How the hell did I survive?

After college, I did have some nice phone conversations with girls I was dating. Some, in fact, were 1 ½ to 2 hours long (this was the exposition phase of a relationship, when you find out all the dorky minutiae about someone and realize that they’re just as dorky and have as much minutiae as you do in your life.)

However, when the relationship got going, the phone calls basically changed to, “So when are you coming over?” or “What do you want to do Friday night?”

I know; I was charming them to no end.

Part of this may also be my inability to contain myself on an answering machine of voice mail.

To wit:

“…so yeah, just call me back when you get this and we can do this, OK? You know my number, so just call me back…oh yeah…and then…”

Repeat that at least four or five times.

Then there’s something I’m always ashamed of – my “drunken” dials. It always happens at conferences, especially right before while waiting for others to arrive, or right after when I’m waiting for my plane.

In those, I can’t shut up for anything. Take that answering machine blather, and multiply it by 10. And it’s even worse when I do get someone on the phone.

On my way back from Toledo, I left messages for most everyone in my phone book. Fortunately, no one answered, otherwise, I’d probably be in witness protection right now, for my own safety.

In Cedar Rapids, it so happened the Goddess and I exchanged three or four drunken dials. What did we discuss of national or international import that it took that many calls to resolve?

Heck if I know. I think the conversation always started like this, though:

“Guess where I am?”
“The bar!”

She knows me too well. (Well, I think any of my friends could have guessed that and had a 75% success rate, if they know I’m at a conference).

I used to be all excited when the phone rang at home. I remember rooming with Moose, and we each had a separate number that would ring differently in the house. We’d always listen for the phone and if my line rang I’d give a little happy dance and openly mock him.

“In your face, this call is mine!
“Hello??? Oh, Hi, Mom! No I’m not disappointed it’s you. Why? Do I sound that way? No, it’s not you…really…”

Now, our calls at home are either for Liz, or very mundane, like confirming an appointment or something. No joy in Smedville on the land line. I do still get intrigued when my cell phone rings, because I know it’s someone who wants to talk to ME.

Unless it’s a wrong number.

At work, now, the phone doesn’t ring that often. A lot of my work I either see people face to face or use email. So I get maybe two, three calls a day, and half of them are from home. Not many of our alums call me, only a few vendors and colleagues.

I try to be as neutral as I can in answering it:

“Hello, Raymond Luxury Yacht.”

(Note: My name is spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht – but it’s pronounced Throat Wobbler Mangrove.)

(Kudos to the one of you who got that reference…)

Some of my colleagues have elaborate phone greetings. Me, I just want to be simple and direct.

Besides, if someone calls me, I know it will be work for me, or there’s an issue, and I may as well hear about it as soon as possible.

Some of my best work days are when the phone never rings. That means everything is *allegedly* going well.

(The phone hasn’t rang today…knock on Formica.)

So, while I welcome calls (and all forms of communication) I’m just not rushing right out and making 10 cell phone calls a day. There are more important things to do, like sending out 25 e-mails a day.

See, now that’s productive. I can be an idiot in 5 seconds, instead of 45 minutes!


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