I’M MORE THAN HAPPY TO TALK ON THE PHONE, BUT HATE MAKING PHONE CALLS. THERE IS A REASON FOR THE LATTER
If I’m writing and somebody calls me, I often sound a little vague (even dazed)—and will forget to say something or other which would have been entirely germane to the conversation—and possibly even important.
The reason is fairly obvious. When I write, I switch into ‘the zone’ almost instantly, and from then on I’m in another world where the transmuting of thought into writing is all encompassing. Nothing else is relevant.
Well, such focus is both necessary, extraordinarily helpful, and deeply satisfying—and arguably rivals good sex (though I wouldn’t have thought that when I was younger) but it is not a state I leave with ease, and it can take me some minutes to adjust to the real world. In fact, if the phone goes, or someone knocks on the door, I normally feel shock initially; so if I sometimes seem confused when I answer the phone, that is the reason.
In fact, I rather like the phone, and regard chatting to people I hold in high regard as one of the great pleasures of life. So, if that is the case, why am I reluctant to make phone calls?
Well, this is where we bump into my particular form of dyslexia. Quite simply, I find it very hard to transfer a number, even if written clearly in front of me, to the point of actually dialing. Either I forget the number completely, or else I will transpose the digits. Beyond that, I can’t remember telephone numbers at all—not even my own. It is a deficiency which has inconvenienced me for my entire life. I also cannot remember house numbers, vehicle tags, credit-card numbers, numeric codes—or any of the miserable numeric inventions that so infiltrate our world today.
But, we all have our difficulties, and mine is slight in the scheme of things.
Now, at this point you will probably be thinking: Why doesn’t the idiot simply enter all his important numbers into his cell phone—and then it will dial them automatically at the press of a button?
Because, my good friend, I find entering numbers into my cell even more traumatic than dialing. But, I have battled away and have managed to enter some of the essential ones—and hope eventually to reach Nirvana.
What I would really like to do is dial directly from my computer through my wonderful Polycom loudspeaker phone—but I have never been able to find a computer guru to make that happen yet.
When I was growing up in chilly Ireland, back in the days when phones looked like the above illustration, and you had to go through an operator, the phone was always kept in the hall. This had the advantage of ensuring that calls were kept short, because in those days before central heating, the hall was normally freezing. Extensions were unheard of.
I used to ask my grandmother about ‘the olden days’ when she was growing up. Now I have ‘olden days’ of my own—and I value them. Mind you, I’m damn glad we now have central heating.