I couldn’t tell you what exactly it is about phones that freak me out, but there is something. It takes a great deal of physical and mental effort on my part to work up the ability to make a phone call. Answering the phones isn’t a huge deal – more often than not it’s a slight annoyance (though in fairness to those who call once I’m actually talking to them I’m fine, it’s just the fact that the phone is ringing that triggers some sort of negative response in my mind). I’ve literally spent hours sometimes trying to make a call. When I’m calling someone I care about it doesn’t take as long, but it’s still a difficult process for me. Like I said, I can’t explain why it’s this way. There’s no particular feeling of dread – it’s more as if a physical barrier has been errected that impedes my progress the closer I get to making that call. There’s been times I’ve hung up the phone before I even finished dialing all the digits in someones numbers. Fortunately most of my friends are perfectly fine communicating with me over such means as e-mail or instant messages, both of which I thrive on. I like others. I love communicating – it’s just that the phone is not a medium I am adept at. To complicate matters I have trouble hearing what people are saying on the phone. On average I’d say in a given conversation I don’t actually hear every third or fourth word. When talking to someone I am familiar with its not so much a problem as my brain sort of anticipates what word would best fit there based on who I am talking to, so I comprehend what is being said. When answering the phone at work, however, often times I have to get people to repeat themselves a few times… especially with names. For instance someone with an easy name like Bob Clark calls and I go to take a message and to me, at first, his name sounds like blahblahblaaaahblah. Fortunately its rare that people call here with terribly complex names – like if I didn’t know her and my friend Shoshi Kamholtz called I swear I’d have to get her to repeat herself about ten times – and likely she’d just get annoyed and hang up. I know I would.
So for all my friends out there who I neglect to call as often as I should I do apologize. This is in no way meant to be an explanation or a cop out – I just wanted to share my perspective with you. Does it change anything? No. But a little understanding sometimes can go a long way and fortunately my friends are quite understanding.