The nightmare of the phone — hanging up is hard to do

Dec 11

When did it become so awkward to talk on the phone?

In this day and age of e-mail, texting, instant messaging and whatever else — has it become impossible to speak with somebody on the phone?

I’ve never had an issue chatting on the phone. I still don’t. While I don’t long and in-depth conversations on a phone, the casual call shouldn’t be weird. But it seems to be. Even with old friends.

And maybe it’s not the call itself.

It’s ending it.

I’ve noticed in the last month or two how odd it feels to end a call.

It’s almost like — when should you end it? How should you end it? And is it the right time?

Phone calls were never awkward when using rotary-dial phones! (photo courtesy chelle at MorgueFile)

Sheesh.

When I was a kid, calls were simple.

“Hey, you want to go play some ball?”

“Sure.”

“Meet you at the park in 20 minutes.”

— click —

Just like that. The call was on and then done. See ya, bye.

Now the calls can be filled with fine content. But then the conversation starts to waver. Something doesn’t feel right. It’s a moment when you know the call should end.

But how do you do it?

You might stammer through a few things before getting off the phone. Maybe the person on the other side will do the same. Or maybe they don’t feel this awkwardness.

Maybe it’s only me?

We used to make funny prank calls via pay phones. That was before caller ID. And it only cost us like five cents. Heck, now it’s hard as can be just to find a pay phone. After all, you can’t text from a pay phone.

Do you remember rotary phones? I remember them. They were awesome and they are gone now. The sound as you actually dialed somebody was really cool. Then came push-button phones. Everything came crashing down after that. Voice mail. Call waiting. Cell phones. Texting. Face time. Skype.

The list goes on and on.

I’m not saying it’s bad — technology that is. I’m just saying, as a society, we’ve seemed to lost the ability to have a good phone call and end it when it needs to be ended.

I don’t see it getting any easier in the future, either.

It would appear I’m just going to have to deal with it. After all, phones aren’t going away. Neither is technology. Sure, some people will avoid technology for as long as they can. But as they get sucked into that black hole, the conversations will turn from fruitful to awkward.

I’ve even caught myself telling somebody to “text me” information instead of calling.

Realize this — it’s not that I don’t want to talk to somebody. It’s that I don’t know how to stop talking in a natural way anymore.

Yes, that silence at the end of a call really bothers me.

This is just another “art” form being lost to time. Or is it? I don’t know. I could just be crazy. Maybe it’s all in my head.

But here I go again.

I have no idea how to end this post. It’s like I’m on the phone.

See ya, bye.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog@gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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6 comments

  1. “Maybe it’s only me?”

    Nope. Great article.

  2. El Fartero /

    That was fun, PJ. And I had a phone just like that! I think it may be in my mom’s attic somewhere, come to think of it.

    My sister would NEVER get off the phone. And it was a pink Princess; no other phone would do. Sometimes we’d pick up the extension and hear her prattling away. “WOULD YA GET OFF THE PHONE ALREADY? I HAVE TO MAKE AN IMPORTANT CALL!” had no effect. If you hollered “FIRE” she’d just stare at you with glazed eyes.

    There was a cartoon that was popular then. It showed a middle-aged woman who’s just karate-chopped a phone book right in half (and they were pretty big in those days). “Where’d you learn to do that?” someone asks, very much impressed. “Well you see,” she replies, “I have a teen-aged daughter!” Everyone got the joke. If you didn’t have a teen-aged daughter, you had a friend who did, and their line was always busy!

    But the joke’s gone old. I have a teenage daughter, and she rarely talks on the phone. She has a wall jack in her room (it took my sister months of nagging to get one of these!) which sits exposed with nothing plugged into it. I think that Pink Princess may be the warmup band for Pandora’s Box.

    • Bob — I always love the stories you bring to the comment section of my blog posts. Always entertaining. I’m just glad you didn’t tell me you had to connect to the operators back in your day — “Give me Neahwa Park 473 please!”

  3. I’m horrible on the phone. The thing I keep saying over and over again is “What was that? I didn’t understand you”. I just can’t get my ears to collaborate with cell phones, and it’s all I’ve been using for over 10 years. Sigh.

    I can hear a pin drop on the next street but I can never hear well on a cell phone. And ending the convos? With a cell the answer is simple “Gotta go, my battery is about to die”. But I totally agree with you, technology has killed one on one conversations.
    Marie Nicole recently posted..Help! I’m Trapped!My Profile

    • I fully agree here! My lord, sometimes it’s tough with cell phones sometimes. The convos are the worst. Sometimes I wonder how to end something when it’s obvious two of us are trying to get off the phone!

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