When I started Kindergarten in the fall of 1979, my teacher taught me the alphabet, how to write my name with a stubby pencil, that sharing is caring and made me memorize my address. And, of course, my phone number.
Not surprisingly, I still remember it, the same phone number that I had for almost 20 years.
Area code 216-228-3609 (Not my current phone number, I have no idea who’d answer now if you dialed it.)
There was a girl named Melanie who was my best friend in those early days and when she called my house, she’d ask whoever answered (usually my ma) “Is Mer there?”
“Mer, you have a phone call!!”
Well shit, someone actually wanted to talk to me.
I’d excitedly grab the receiver of our landline rotary telephone, nestle myself into the chair that we had next to it and engage myself in conversation about Barbie Dolls, the latest episode of Punky Brewster or whatever else little kids talked about back in the 80’s.
Hit fast forward and when I was a teenager, my uncle bought us a cordless telephone for Christmas. I could now go sit in my backyard at the picnic table and talk with my peeps whilst enjoying nature, making sure to stay in range.
Those were the days, my friends.
The only person that I talk with on the phone now with any regularity is my mother. Once in the morning and then again in the afternoon around 3PM. I’ll rarely get a call on my smart phone from my old friend Elinor who moved to North Carolina or my best blog friend Alice who lives in Texas.
That’s about it, unless you count the times when I have no other choice but to make an “important” phone call. (Example, please don’t turn off my internet, what the hell would I do with myself without Wi-Fi?)
Last week, my friend Paul aka Desertcurmudgeon was going through a bad turn. I offered up my phone number in case he had any interest in, you know, talking to a live human being for a fucking change.
This past Saturday evening, he took me up on it.
It felt like the old days! For two hours, we told stories, personal anecdotes and I think a couple of times I burped, although not loud enough for him to hear unless he was really listening.
Did you hear me belch, Paul?
Anyways, in a world where we now mainly communicate with people digitally, it was an official nostalgic experience. Not only do I know Paul through his wonderful writing on his blog, I now know what his real voice sounds like. I know if he snorts when he laughs (he doesn’t) and I now feel like he’s more than just an online friend.
He no longer just lives in my computer, he’s a real, honest to goodness person. I heard the inflection in his voice, something that you can’t get from an online chat.
I highly recommend talking to an online friend on the horn. Pick one and ask them.
Seriously, you guys. Let’s all kick it old school and help bring back this archaic form of human communication.
If we try hard enough, we might even be able to forget about our insanely chaotic world for a little while.