Thingish Things

Stop the Ringing!

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Nov• 03•11


from stemtechnews

I can’t wait for the day when the telephone is obsolete. Not just obsolete, rather, but extinct. Dead, dead, dead. As a door nail.

I fear it may never happen, though, because such a day should be upon us. But still that little bastard rings. And rings.

We have so many better modes of communication available — email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, et al. So what’s up with all the phone calls? They always come when you’re working on something else, disrupting whatever thought pattern you had going: You’re juggling apples and oranges and here come watermelons — totally uninvited.

Calls to a cell phone are the worst. I end up writing notes on my knee or against the roof of a parked car, stuffing them afterwards into the lint and receipt collection in my pant pockets where, days later, they emerge laundered, round, and with a strange blue hue. (What is that?)

With email there is a trail that can be referred to later. And a three-sentence email will replace a 12-minute phone conversation, without that disingenuous “when can we have lunch?” affixed to the ending. It’s much easier to write “probably never” than to say it.

And is there anything more horrible than the ubiquitous and absurdly open-ended telephone openers: “What’s up?””What’s happening?” “What’s going on?”

Shoot me.

Sure there is lost human connection in keyboard communications, but I’m gleefully willing to trade that away. I like people — I really do — but that’s what face-to-face meetings are for. I can live without unscheduled injections of humanity throughout my days. Give me ones and zeroes all day long and I’m happy.

Young people clearly feel this way more keenly than I do. Twitter, God bless it, limits communications to 140 characters. Can’t. Talk. Now. Lunch? Never. #isolate.  And I’ve come to notice that the most common cell phone ring these days is a reproduction of the old Ma Bell type (it’s what I have, too), which suggests to me that young people — who didn’t grow up with Ma Bell — are rarely calling one another any more. It’s only we old fogies. 

What I can’t figure out is if others of my generation share this sentiment, or if I have a problem. Am I anti-social or should the telephone die, die, die?

Give me a shout if you feel like it. 

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  1. Sound of Silence says:

    Perhaps this is a better way, Bill?

  2. Rachel says:

    Finally something we agree on! 🙂

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