Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talking It Out

I have a confession to make. I realized this morning that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here before.

No, I’m not talking about my chronic case of well-hung-itis. That’s a burden that I have learned to bear.

No, I’m talking about the fact that, for years, I have suffered from a chronic case of Telephobia.

What is that, you might ask?

I have a REAL, crippling fear of talking on telephones.

I wish I was making that up, but it’s true.

It’s not just ‘talking’ on telephones that drives me apeshit, really. It’s just when I have to talk to STRANGERS on telephones, or if I have to have an uncomfortable conversation on a phone that drives me crazy.

Case in point: Last week Friz and I bought new cell phones, and because she has begun texting her friends like a 16 year old high school girl (don’t get me started), we got one of those heavy-duty texting plans.

Imagine me then this past weekend when my usually calm mental Happy Place was blown to shit when I decided to check our cell phone bill on-line and saw that our phone bill for the last 2 weeks alone was ALREADY OVER THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!

When I checked out the bill details, it clearly showed that we had accrued about $225 in texting charges. Apparently, my friendly cell-phone salesman fucked up our purchase plan, and I was paying 30 cents per incoming AND outgoing text. Awesome.

Obviously, there was no way I was going to pay that. And we needed to correct our billing plan.

There was only one small problem with that. In order to get this corrected, I was going to have to actually SPEAK with someone.

Someone I don’t know.

And I’d probably have to argue with them till I got my way.

That was enough to send a chill down my spine.

So, I did the only thing I could do….. what I ALWAYS do in these kinds of situations.

I let Friz take care of it.

She can be a real bulldog with things like this. She’s fearless when dealing with people, and can be a right bitch when she needs to. Within 30 minutes, our bill was wiped clean, our correct texting plan was in place, and I even got my data plan on the new phone included for free.

Another crisis averted.

I don’t know how this shit started with me, but I just can’t handle it. It’s so strange because it just completely doesn’t jell with the rest of my personality. I don’t know if you’ve been able to pick this up from any of my previous posts, but I have a bit of an ego problem.

And I have no problem causing a scene in person when I need to. I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it on the phone.

I don’t ever answer my phone at home. I have an answering machine, and it pisses my friends off to no end to have to speak into it when they KNOW I’m fucking home, before I pick up the line to talk to them.

The reason I don’t just pick up the phone when it rings? Because there might be a stranger on the line and it freaks me out.

I know this is pretty fucked up, but I’ve been like this pretty much my whole life. It makes having to call vendors at work and complain about something a REAL fucking pleasure….

Anyone else have a problem like this? At some point in my life I’d love to FINALLY get over this shit…..

It’s frustrating because, as we all can agree, I’m absolutely PERFECT in EVERY other way, both physically and mentally.

Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble….?


Suzi Q said...

I have a fear of the phone as well. If someone calls me at home and I don't recognize the number I ain't answering. Hell even if it is someone I know I won't. I really hate the phone!

Heff said...

I stick by my previous statement that "Cell Phones are OF THE DEVIL."

I anxiously WAIT for strangers to call my house. I've done everything from Act? drunk on the phone with them to acting? like I'm in the middle of a sexual act.

Slyde said...

suzi: i'm with ya.

Heff: ive done shit like that too. Sometimes i start talking like a baby and say that my daddy isnt home right now and they quickly hang up saying they'll call back later.

sybil law said...

You mean this isn't a man thing? Mys husband is the EXACT SAME WAY and it drives me batshit insane. He always thinks he'll "look stupid" if he has to ask a question, as if they haven't heard some of the dumbest shit ever.
I am not a huge phone talker, especially to strangers, but I do it when I need to.
I don't get it.

Marlene said...

I'm with you.....however, I do have a contributing factor. I'm hard of hearing, so speaking to someone on the phone is murder for me sometimes. If I get someone foreign with an accent, and I ask them to repeat themselves, they get all bent out of shape because they think I'm dissing their accent. They never believe me when I tell them I have a hearing problem.

My solution - I got rid of the landline. :)

Nej said...

I'll talk to strangers on the phone, I'll call them, I'll answer when they call.....but if it's someone I know, then I'm terrified. How's that for crazy???

Mrs. Hall said...

Anna Freud here:

So-vat have we learnt about our patient, Mr. Slyde? Ve half learnt he has a historee of OCD compulsions, touching of the objects with his right and left hand-or some such. He has distrubed sleeping patterns and needs to be without zee clothing during his slumber. He has ze fear of speaking with cashiers when buying his monthly alotment of 300 cat food cans.

He also has nightmares vere he cannot complete sexual acts on a willing participant, has nightmares vere there is a bird he cannot find but needs to feed- or somesing along these lines.

And now the fear of speaking on ze phone is being reported. Which is not unsimilair to his fear of speaking with acquatiances or ze peeple who are not direct friends or families.

Ze connecting factor to all of zis is a baseline of heightened anxiety that manifests in several different areas in Mr. Slyde's life. But, make no mistake-it is all underly anxiety. Anxiety is somsing that is manageable and can be conquered. Some of ze times, a simple visit to a counselor is all that is needed.

Best of luck Mr. Slyde, go forth and sin no more!

Slyde said...

sybil: that honestly makes me feel better.

marlene: beleive it or not, ive considered doing the same thing with my landline...

nej: ok, now i know you're weirder than me...

Slyde said...

holly: see, i knew when i wrote this that you would comment with something... i just had no idea you actually REMEMBER all that drivel ive doled out over the years..

i think in the end, you are correct... it all stems from anxiety that was born of alot of shit from my childhood that made me VERY insecure as a kid.

Around 18, things changed for me in a big way and i kind of was able to reinvent myself into the hot sex-machine you see now, but i think that scared little boy is still there, and he doesnt want to talk on the phone at all!

Nej said...


Mrs. Hall said...

Yes, the memory of Mrs. Hall-it is a steel trap. It's automatic. It's my own special super hero power.

Anywho-you had indicated you were raised by your grandfather-this means there is a reason your parents didn't raise you. And those types of reasons are never really nice reasons. So yeah, lots of shit must have gone down when you were a kid.

BUT you had said you conquered your touching of things with the left and the right (or somesuch)- and now you talk of changing who you were at age 18. BRAVO!!!!!

Now! it's up to you if you want to change the talking on the phone thing. I mean, you have the inner power-that is evidenced your recent past.

But, if talking on the phone is not disabling your life-if you really don't want to change it-then well, you don't have to. Every person out there is aloud to be weird in our own way. And if you choose to be weird this way, more power to you.

but, if you want to change, you can. You can doo eeett! That's all I'm saying:)

ok enough!!

next time I'm gonna charge you! ok, maybe not, I can't help but put all the pieces together for people. It's my own special compulsion-but I only do it for people I like! :)

Slyde said...

holly: my parents were around, but with both of them often holding down 2 jobs each, there wasnt much time for other stuff. So on the weekends, i pretty much was with my grandparents who lived with me.

Verdant Earl said...

I hate talking on the phone. With just about anyone, actually. But as much as I hate it, I don't fear it. It's just annoying. I've actually been told that I have a pleasant way on the phone with strangers, but that's probably just because I'm so bored that I'm trying to entertain myself.

meleah rebeccah said...

I also HATE taking on the phone and I prefer to TEXT message. Im glad that you didn't have to pay all those messed up overcharges because of someone else's mistake.

2abes said...

give me a call, we'll talk about it...

Slyde said...

earl: i think you have a very relaxed phone sex voice, too.

meleah: im trying to train myself to text more. its backwards, i know.

abes: one or two times?

Brittany said...

I'm the one who makes the phone calls. I am a good phone talker, but hate complaining in person. If we joined our super powers wed be unstoppable! :)

Anonymous said...

Whoa Whoa Whoa..

This is your second post in 4 days.

Slow down, buddy.

Slyde said...

brit: wonder twin powers.... acivate!

chris: i'd type a response but im winded....

Kirsty said...

Haha. That IS pretty fucked up. My fucked up problem is that I have a real problem with peeing. I'm not talking, like, a kidney issue. I just can't go when I think anyone is listening, or outdoors, or on any kind of toilet that isn't quite normal. I have nightmares about desperately needing to go and only being able to find a toilet with glass walls!

Chris H said...

I get this... I hate answering the phone. Not for the same reasons as you though. ... it's cos I feel like it's always going to be bad news!
I have answered the phone at least 5 times to be told someone dear to me has gone and died... my Dad, both my brothers.... so I hate it.

I don't mind making phone calls .... and strangers don't bother me either.
So... you should just text!

Jill said...

Unsurprisingly enough, I have some phone phobias of my own, although they're different than YOUR phone phobias. :-)

In fact, I think we had already moved in together before I actually started calling my husband on the phone.

I definitely screen my calls, and I'm more with Nej when it comes to who it's scarier to talk to - strangers are usually no probably, although for the most part I don't talk to them either.

Ultimately though, I think it's a manifestation of run of the mill anxiety for the most part.

I think it's the whole disembodied voice thing that makes the phone so scary. You lose all other forms of communication when you're on the phone. There's no eye contact or lack thereof. There's no body language. And if you're not an incredibly auditory person to begin with, it's really, really hard to be without those cues. It's hard to conceive of how much information those things convey until you're stuck on the phone without any access to them. It's sort of like when I joke that I can't hear anything if I'm not wearing my contact lenses. I'm just not all that comfortable without some visual cues.

In any case, glad your cell phone issue is resolved!

Jill said...

Oh dear...I wrote practically an entire blog post as a comment. Oh well...what can I say? It's a phobia that is near and dear to my heart. :-)

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The Evil Twin NEVER answers the phone and he also won't phone in for pizza, etc. That's my job - even if I hate it. I do not answer the phone for numbers I don't recognize, though, so I have some dignity.

Kat said...

I have no issues with the phone except for the fact that 1/2 of all the calls i get are from people i don't know, like telemarketers. To me it's an invasion of privacy and THAT is the part that bugs me the most. I'm at home. If you don't know me leave me alone. Pretty sure if I wanted water (or a vacuum cleaner) I'd ask for water.

Slyde said...

kristy: I have a friend who is the exact same way. that one i cannot explain.

chrish: ouch! i guess thats as good a reason as any to hate the phone :(

jill: Never apologize for such a great, thought out comment. I am sure you are right that its an anxiety thing, probably stemming from my childhood shyness.

twin: ok, now thats weird. i can at least order my own pizza, thank you very much!

kat: Is this your way of telling me you DONT want the damn vaccum?

Bruce Johnson said...

First of all my apologizes for not being on here more recently and making fun of your questionable manhood. Things haven't been too good around here recently. They aren't really bad....just not real good, which has been distracting me from making fun of your miniscule 'dinky'.

That said, I will be the first to admit that I have a PTSD phobia of talking on phones, but for a slightly different reason. In my past jobs in the Insurance Claims industry, I had to answer about 30 to 50 phone calls a day from people that were 'literally' screaming at me and threatening to kill me. Shhhesh, total someones 1974 Pinto and they get really pissed when they find out it is only worth $500.

So after having fielded about 3000 of these phone calls in 5 years.....I found a different line of work and basically stopped answering phones. Because life has taught me one thing. Anyone that call me 'wants' something from me. NO ONE calls me up to GIVE me anything. So it is a loosing proposition for me to ever pick up the phone. Send me an e-mail people.....don't bother dialing my number. I won't answer.

Kat said...

Seeing as I know you I suppose I'd take a look at what you have to offer.

Tamara said...

I'm just as bad. As a journalist, I often have to do telephonic interviews. And before I do them, I dress up (so that I feel professional enough to handle the interview), I dope myself with Rescue Remedy and I write myself a script.

A few years back, I tried to get over my phone phobia by volunteering to call a bunch of pastors for my church. you know, face your fear and all that crap. That was an epic FAIL. I got through to this chick and asked for Pastor so-and-so and she burst into tears and said that was her dad - he'd just died the day before. So my phobia just got worse.

Slyde said...

bruce: you know, i wouldnt be surprised if somewhere deep down, that is exactly the reason i got into working with computers... so i didnt have to deal with people.

kat: are you coming on to me?

tam: i did the same thing. I took a summer job in college as a telemarketer. I would literally start to sweat each night as i got the list of phone numbers i had to call....

Kat said...