My phones, both the home and (prepaid) cell, do not rule my life.

I have never been much of a phone talker (except with a few select family members), and I shy away from situations that require talking to someone on the phone.

And, of course, I very rarely answer the phone, unless it’s someone I know and I’m not busy at the moment, or I’m expecting an important call (employment?).  Everyone else, if it’s important, can leave a message.  If your number is from an area code I don’t recognize, or a toll free number, or especially comes up as “unknown”, then chances are I will dismiss you as a bill collector, telemarketer, or scammer, unless they leave a message proving to me otherwise. And if I have a brain fart and pick up on one of the aforementioned, be prepared to be rudely hung up on.

Oh, and I never, ever converse with bill collectors.  Ever. At all. Nada.  If the debt is legit and I’m in a position to pay it up, I will talk to the original debtor for settlement.  Everyone else can eat voice mail.

This phone-shyness of mine probably comes from my insecurity.  I like to be able to think about what I’m going to say before I say it, and talking with someone on the phone without any inkling as to the nature of their business leaves me with no opportunity to prepare.  If I’m forced to call someone for whatever reason, I like to rehearse in my head what I’m going to say so I don’t come off as sounding (in my head) like a complete idiot.

Needless to say, there are times where I have to overcome my phone issues, bite the bullet, and make phone calls for pressing business or personal reasons, or emergencies.  But if I don’t absolutely have to, I stay away from talking on the phone.  And for those of you that wonder about texting, I’m a little better at that especially for the convenience (you can think about your text before composing and sending it), but I don’t like to idly chit-chat via text, I’d much rather do that in person.

Having said all of that, I do like to keep at least a prepaid cellphone handy because communication with the rest of the family is essential when we are all running in different directions.  But I don’t let it rule me, or become an electronic leash.

I do wish Yes Dear felt the same way.  At least as far as unknown numbers calling the house goes.

The past year we’ve experienced waves of the home phone ringing at all hours of the day, all day long.  Probably only about 10% of the calls were legitimately from someone we were interested (or needed) to talk to.  The rest of the numbers I would log in a notepad file, google them, and make a notation as to their source (if I could find it) and how many times they called.  The ones that called the most often got blocked (I can only block 10 numbers at a time).  When I got to ten numbers blocked, I would only add new ones if they were particularly obnoxious (like calling 3x a day) and I’d take the oldest number off the list.  Usually they were on the list long enough to get the message (at least to the robocallers) that their calls weren’t welcome and would not be answered, and I wouldn’t hear from them again.  A few likely switched to different numbers (or started spoofing), but the net result was that such calls dropped dramatically the past few months.

Until recently.

Yes Dear, unfortunately, doesn’t share my views so far as caller ID and unknown callers go.  Despite the evidence I’ve been logging that virtually every unidentified number from a different area code or toll free is someone we don’t want or need to talk to, she’s lately been picking up the phone almost every time.  And almost every time she gets absolutely nothing, a computer, or an obnoxious bill collector or telemarketer.  Worse yet, she’ll actually start to converse with the last two, despite the fact that all is accomplished is a lot of wasted time and irritation.  Guess part of the problem is she’s too polite sometimes, which really isn’t a bad thing, especially since she’s worked extensively with customer service.  But I have no problem being the asshole that hangs up the phone because he doesn’t want to hear your scripted spiel or be subjected to your Jedi mind tricks.

Of course, this just confirms to both the bots and humans that someone worthy of bothering lives at the other end of our phone number, which negates my previous efforts to encourage them to go away, so I have to start the process over again.  Real tempted to see if a phone service exists that operates on an opt-in basis, where everything automatically goes to voice mail unless authorized by me.

Oh yeah, and the above goes double for cell phones, where my pre-paid minutes are valuable.  Of course I’m even pickier about who gets my cellphone number, and I resent those websites and services that keep asking for your cell # as extra security backup (helloooo Facebook?)  I will though grant an exception to services that text severe weather warnings to your phone, those came in handy the other evening.

Antisocial?   A little.  At least until I get to know you better, or you have the courtesy to leave me a message.


6 thoughts on “Telephony

  1. Being a confirmed introvert, I don’t use the phone much. Thank goodness for the internet!

    My best friend is in Texas so we talk every day, but most times we keep it short; just an exchange of facts, really. And I’ve no problem turning the phone off or letting it ring if I’m watching a movie or off to bed. It’s our prerogative after all; there’s no law stating that if it’s ringing, it must be answered.
    Yet. 😉

  2. I agree with what you say here Dave, though i usually will answer the phone unless im working or busy, but I completely understand, I don’t spend much time, if they are a telemarketer i hang up pretty quickly or a deb collector

  3. If nothing else, you’ll have to explain a fact of life to “Yes dear”. Debt collectors use deceit and trickery to get you to “own” the debt. The debt may be long out of date (there is a statute of limitations on this), it may be discharged in bankruptcy as mine was, it may not even be your debt– the collectors don’t care, if they can trick you into accepting it as your debt the clock starts from then and they will hassle you over it for upwards of 7 years. Not talking to these people on the phone is the best bet– if the debt is legitimate that’s what the mails are for. If the debt isn’t legit, then– that’s what the mails are for. It’s upon the debt collector to prove to you IN WRITING that the debt is legitimate and that they do, in fact, own the debt by legitimate means. Until they prove this in writing, they can go pound sand. Problem: “Yes dear”, as bright as she may be, could possibly be deceived by a fast-talking con artist and then you’re stuck fielding debt collector calls forever.

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