When I was kid – or a tween rather – I had a phone book. It was pink and had little puppies on the cover and was filled with ink the colors that the rainbow hasn’t even seen yet. But that wasn’t what was important. The contents were sacred. As it had phone numbers from almost every human child I had encountered between the ages of eight and fifteen. I am not making this up. I had my own tweeny-bop bible of a phone book. It went to sleepovers with me, people.
But thinking back on this, I have absolutely no idea how I got all those phone numbers.
You see, I didn’t like talking to people I didn’t know; I was kid, I stuck close to my friends and our inside jokes. So how did I have so many to write down? I had numbers of girls I was only acquaintances with. And of other girls that I purposely avoided at school [because the venom in their voices spelled trouble]. And boys. Lots and lots of lots of numbers that belonged to boys. Of course, this means absolutely nothing because boys did not like me. But I had them.
Of that one boy at the skating rink. Of the two friends who were both named Chris. Of half the guys I went to school with even though they had no idea I was alive. Oh yes. All scribbled in purple ink inside my puppy infested pink phone book.
OK, so I may have not liked talking to people I didn’t know in person, but on the phone… I was a completely different girl. I had confidence. I made jokes. I’d talk about the Cowboys winning the World Series. I couldn’t be stopped on the phone. I loved talking on the phone. Until I didn’t.
I don’t know what happened. One day I’m talking to a guy [I was suppose to meet on a group date] and I told him that I had a little deformity, nothing big or alarming, just that my right eye a little lower than my left. Like, on my cheek lower. (See… I told you I was funny. Granted, he didn’t find that humorous whatsoever and completely blew me off. I met him a year later and ignored his calls by then. Thank you, Caller ID.) And in an instant, I’m completely turned off by the idea of having to sweat it out with someone – anyone – over the phone.
I told myself I was getting older and frivolous things like chatting on the phone just weren’t worth my time. But that’s a big fat lie because frivolous things like playing on the interweb has filled that void. So then I told myself that I was getting older and human contact just meant that much more to me. Sure, with my people I like but I still freeze up like a puddle on a December day around strangers. So maybe it was because I was getting older and just didn’t like talking to people any more. By golly, I think I hit the nail on the head.
I don’t like talking to people. Sue me.
It’s awkward. It’s time consuming. It’s awkward. OK, I’m awkward, but please tell me you know what I mean. I’m in favor of email. Ditto with the texting. But a conversation? With real words? On the phone? Really? I’ll talk to ya if I have to but by george, let’s cut the chase: whadayawant?
One thing definitely hasn’t changed: I’m still a different person on the phone. I can bargain, wheel and deal, put on my mean person pants and get my way on the phone. In person… not so much.
Unless maybe there’s beer involved.