Sunday, August 21, 2005


phone etiquette

I really love and hate my cell phone. I'm one of those truly horrendous individuals who has programmed in a particular ring for just about every person who calls me when any sort of regularity, so that I don't even have to move to look at the phone if the caller doesn't inspire me to. As much as I love my Mom, if I'm hungover, I'm most likely not getting up to answer the Mexican Hat Dance. Depending on my mood, I may leap up for or totally ignore my roommate's Fraggle Rock. And god knows there isn't much of anything that'll keep me from answering Bittersweet Symphony. And I mostly like being reachable all the time, so I never have to miss out on anything because someone couldn't find me. But, of course, the flipside of that is that when I do miss out on things, I can't blame the limits of communication the way that I could before I had this little piece of plastic that I take with me wherever I go. If I don't get the message that someone wants to see or hang out with me, it's because they didn't call to tell me so. And that, I really hate. When I'm really truly psychotic about my cell phone, though, is when I'm expecting a call. It can be a call about anything that's important to me. When I'm waiting for that call, every second that it doesn't ring literally makes my muscles tighten up a little more, my face feel a bit more flushed. And this isn't just when a call is late in coming; this can be maybe an hour or more BEFORE I have any right to reasonably expect the damned phone to ring. So, usually, by about a half-hour or so before the deadline, I've become so tense that I have to turn the phone to silent so that I can tell myself I'm the one controlling the phone's non-ring, not whatever bastard is choosing not to call me when I want them to. I can look at every 5 or 10 minutes to see if they've called, and only be upset for a few seconds at each of those intervals. Most of the time, that works okay. However, as the minutes or hours go on, and the messages don't show up, my need to check the phone increases faster and faster until I'm looking every five or 10 seconds instead of minutes. At that point, even the look of the display of the phone feels as taunting as the silence of its non-ring had an hour or two before. When it comes to this, my only option is to shut the fucking phone off altogether before I chuck it out the fucking window and then jump out after it to get it. And I have to wonder if those few minutes every once in a great while when the damned thing is tearing my life apart does more damage than all the convenience and aid my cell phone provides me the rest of the time.

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