Andrea Mara

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Phoning it in

I’m bracing myself, gearing up to make the call. Not an important call, not a life-changing call, just a call. To a plumber. On my mobile. To his mobile. From the room where the coverage is usually (but not always) okay. Where the call is least likely to drop, or result in “Sorry. . .  sorry, you’re breaking up there  – sorry, I missed that, hello? hello? Hi, yes, no, I’m still here. I think I missed that bit in the middle, hello? Hi? He’s gone. Oh hi, you’re still there” kind of thing.

I should have made the call last night, but it got too late. And I should have made it this morning but then I was writing and editing and, eh, making cups of coffee. But now the kids are home from school and the writing is done till tonight and the shower needs fixing and there are no more excuses. I need to make the call.

I read somewhere recently that Millennials are afraid of the phone. That they’re not used to making calls, having grown up with a world of communication options we didn’t have when we were growing up – text, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter – basically writing instead talking. I’m far, far, (far) from being a Millennial, and I can’t blame texting for giving me a fear of phone-calls – I’ve been like this since at least my early twenties at least.

As a kid and as a teen, I loved using the house phone, calling friends after school to talk about all the things we’d just spent all day discussing in class. But somewhere along the line that changed – maybe it was the advent of mobile phones and bad connections – I found I was less enthusiastic generally about picking up the handset and dialling.

And now if at all possible, I avoid using the phone. I  make my husband call when we need a takeaway, and if a restaurant doesn’t have an online reservation facility, I’m probably less likely to book. I love “chat” options on websites, email addresses, or any means of making contact that doesn’t involve speaking by phone.

This isn’t an anti-people thing – I love talking to people face to face. I love coffee with friends, and I even love coffee with people I don’t know – a new group of school mums or women at a networking event.

In fact if you’re a woman of about my age, and I’m buying something from you or sitting in your dentist’s chair, we’ve probably already swapped notes on everything from our kids’ ages to what we watched on Netflix last night – even if we only met five minutes ago.

Speaking is good – face to face is my all-time favourite way to communicate – just don’t make me speak by phone. Now, I wonder if I could fix this shower by myself.





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