Bitching Brew

Monday, January 08, 2007

Man of letters, or hassled typist?

We don't have a land line in our apartment here. This saves a bit of money, as you might imagine! Still, it means that if I want to make an international call, I have to traipse to a phone-box (normally underground at this time of year) and use prepaid calling cards. No one from home is able to call me - I incur all the expenses. I can chat with a few people on Skype, but the majority of my friends and family reside in Skypeless land.

Yet I've just realised an advantage to my inaccessibility: I control all communication. Never am I surprised by a phone call - I only need talk when I'm in the mood. I understand now why some holdouts still resist the call of the mobile phone. In the same way that we suffer information overloads, we can suffer communication burnouts. At the beginning of the holidays, I had a fearsome stack of emails to respond to. I've worked through a few, but I decided to resolve the majority through an old-fashioned phone call. I like to talk to my friends and family - but sometimes I need to do it at my own pace.

There's something to be said for the days of letter-writing. I treat my emails like letters; I put a lot of thought into them, usually drafting lengthy ones. Of course, this can lead to long delays, but sanity and care in drafting is are more important than speed. (I used to draft my blog posts too, in more carefree days!) The worst aspect of modern communication is its urgency. We've grown accustomed to instant answers, and frequently get frustrated when they aren't forthcoming.

Yet despite my musings above, it's been great talking to so many of les Irlandais over the last couple of weeks. While I'm not homesick, I do miss a lot of great people. Fed by my bright Canadian spirit, I even messaged a few people I'd lost touch with. Some due to fallouts, others from mere drifting apart. It worked in a couple of cases, which was pleasing. As for the rest, "whatever!" is the appropriate Canadian reaction!

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  • Control is good (this coming from a control freak. LOL!). I can see many advantages to not having a landline. Having myself a phone messages phobia, I found a way to deal with them... I take them once every 2 or 3 months. No kidding! People who know me well know not to leave me a message. Also, I just don't answer the phone when "unknown number" or "confidential number" appear on the screen or when I don't recognize the phone number. It drives some people nuts, but hey! See if I care.

    By Blogger Sonia, at Wed Jan 10, 12:00:00 a.m.  

  • I don't mind when people leave me voice messages. Especially if they're calls from abroad. Those cost me $2.50 to receive, so I never take them. I can call back on my prepaid card if it's important.

    However - unknown numbers drive me insane. I totally agree: I refuse to answer them on principle.

    A final point: since I have to pay to receive any call here, I frequently let the phone ring out. It costs me exactly the same to make calls as it does to receive them, so I feel free to return the call when I'm in the mood or it's convenient.

    By Blogger Martin, at Mon Jan 15, 06:40:00 a.m.  

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