I've decided I pretty much hate all forms of communication apart from a cat's purr. This opinion changes from time-to-time, but there's one constant - I REALLY hate the phone.
If you're reading this and you're a friend of mine, please don't phone me. If you're reading this and you work with me, please don't phone me.
When I was a child, I loved the phone. You could talk to distant friends and relatives. It was magical. Now it's just the equivalent of Claudius dripping poison into old Hamlet's ear.
When the phone rings, I no longer think "oooh!". I think "what now?". At best, it'll be someone trying to sell me PPI. Otherwise, these days people only really use the phone for bad things.
If it's work, it's seen either as a humane way of firing you or for demanding extra stuff from you immediately. If an email says "Great. Can you call me to chat this through?" it's never a good sign either. Similarly, if someone rings me to say "Good news!" on closer examination it's always bad news disguised with a cheery tone.
I was talking to someone who is brilliant at managing computer programmers. He says the trick is leaving them alone. Don't pop over to see how they're doing, don't drag them into meetings every half hour - just leave them alone for nice, long blocks of thinking. If they decide to check Facebook or gmail, that's fine - they've selected to do that. But don't run over and interrupt them. And whatever you do, don't ring them.
It was cheering to hear this. If I'm working and the phone rings, it can often take me about an hour to get back to where I was. By which time I'll probably need another cup of tea. When I had a proper job, I was forever on the phone. It was nice. It was chatty. We were always phoning each other, for advice, for gossip, for setting up meetings. And, at hometime, I'd wonder why I needed to stay late for a couple of hours to get the day's work done.
This is beginning to make me sound like an information hermit. But I am at my most productive at my parents'. They live in a mobile phone blackspot, and the nearest internet is a walk down the hill. I can get days of work done in a morning, and still find time for an afternoon nap.
Currently, I'm researching contact lenses that will beam emails into our eyeballs and drill phonecalls through our skulls. It doesn't just sound like medieval torture. It's also my idea of hell.
I prefer the silence.
Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
2 years ago