Don’t call me.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 6, 2011
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Do you use your phone anymore for, you know, phone calls?

Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.” ~ NY Times (read the whole bit, it’s worth it—and it mentions instances when folks still call)

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.” ~ Jack Kerouac

I wouldn’t advise using poetry, either. Text me. Email me. If you call, I won’t answer if I don’t recognize the number. If I do recognize the number, I won’t talk to you—I’m in the middle of something 99% of the time.

And I’m far from alone. My entire generation is like this—let alone those young’uns—according to the NY Times. And it goes beyond a generational thing, more and more—cell phone companies are redesigning phones without number keys, and with touch screens, reflecting the increased use of “extras” and the reduced use of actually calling anyone.

Wanna get something done? Text. Email. Use poetry. Just don’t call me…I’m not home.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


18 Responses to “Don’t call me.”

  1. tanya lee markul says:

    I always find it funny when I find myself hiding behind technology – emails vs. person-to-person, texts vs. phone calls. What am I doing? It's those times (most of those times) that I realize I am in desperate need of human connection.

    Technology, which I think is generally perceived as good, although I don't totally agree always, also facilitates us moving farther a part!

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    I agree Tanya – one of the greatest 'evils' (bad word I know but you know what I mean) of our times, if not THE greatest, is the disappearance of a sense of community. I know it's a long shot to say that phones represent community, but isn't this a symptom of something deeper?
    On the other hand i agree that I'd rather get an email than a phone call…
    Hmmm, guess i'll just not fight it 🙂

  3. tanya lee markul says:

    It's scary to think 'why don't weI want to receive phone calls or why don't I want to connect with other people'? I agree that it is a way deeper issue than just 'not wanting to be bothered'.

    In a world of billions, there are so many of us who feel desperately lonely and powerless. In some ways (okay, I go a bit nuts, I know), the system or whatever it is wants us to feel this way. If we feel alone and powerless and don't want to connect with others, we are easier to control. 🙂

  4. Aunty says:

    I hate texting. People text in my classroom, while they're at the dinner table, while they're in the middle of talking to me! So rude!!

  5. JimWilton says:

    I am a lawyer. We actually have to train our new associates these days to use the phone when communicating with clients. So often, the tendency otherwise is to default to email (thankfully, text messages are not considered a viable mode of communication for law and business). Email is fine for legal and business communications — if you take time to compose and proof read the email before sending.

    But nothing replaces the phone call. The thing about phone calls is that you have to listen. You get to hear a note of uncertainty in someone's voice. There is an opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth. And over time a personal connection can develop. The purpose is not to waste anyone's time (most of my one on one calls are five or ten minutes — or less). But sometimes to communicate effectively, you actually have to hear what someone else has to say — even if it interrupts your stream of thought.

  6. Ben_Ralston says:

    Can't. Stand. Texting.

  7. Lisa says:

    I feel challenged by texting. I refuse to have texting on my phone since it feels so impersonal. Yet, when it comes to phone calls, I do find that I screen them. I love knowing who is calling–caller ID is the best invention. I'm sensitive to energies and yes, there are times I really don't want to talk to my mother-in-law. So, I would prefer to call her back when it feels better. I know this is a tiny bit selfish. I am way old school and miss the days of getting together as a family or with friends. Everyone makes the excuse that they are too busy. Crazy world we live in!

  8. Elliott says:

    I hate phones and prefer email. I usually let people leave a message, then after listening to it I'll email them or call back if it is important. People ramble on way too much on the phone, and if they do it in an email, at least I can read only what I need to get from it and ignore the rest.

  9. elephantjournal says:

    You. Can. Txt. When. You're. Not. Doing. Anything. Else.

    I agree, texting or emailing or calling in the middle of whatever is obnoxious, speedy, rampant, and we allll do it. People make calls—not just text—in the middle of conversations, or dinner, too. I should write a second piece about how I hate seeing people text and walk at the same time…multi-tasking makes us "dummer." Oh, wait, I did:

  10. Cynthia says:

    Funny coincidence seeing this article today. Just as I woke up I looked at my cell and thought how it barely rings anymore…everyone is on Facebook.

    Each form of communication has it's place. Figuring out which one is the right one to use at any given time is key. Balance. I sometimes text and ask "can you talk now?" or "call when u get a chance." and I don't feel obligated to answer every call or text as I'm receiving it.

    We need to remind and be reminded that none of these forms of communication were meant to replace spending time together.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    Karen Skvarek Yes, and I want my old fashioned, not a touch screen just buttons phone back.

    Colin Wiseman Am the same. I just downgraded…yes downgraded…my phone contract to get rid of data and calls and tonnes of texts. Facebook deals with a lot of the organisation of my life these days 😀

    Wilona Shideler- Betzen My older brother who lives in Oregon, WI just 2 years ago upgraded his rotary phones in his house…

    Mandy Kenoyer i miss my grandma's rotary phones… I only have a cell phone (cheaper that way) and seriously considering one of those "jitterbug" phones. i kinda like that people look at me funny when i tell them i just want a phone.

    Dharmacharya Gurudas Sunyatananda Phone? What is this thing… phone?

    Tracy Debra Betts yes, I still use a phone, one connected to a phone line, and what about handwritten letters or notes. Do postmen have jobs anymore? So sad. We are losing it.

  12. Good and bad news. Look how much more we're able to get done (are we?) Hilarious how our parents leave a message: "I don't know where you are…" "Well, you're not picking up, so I guess I'll leave a message…" "Where are you?" My 70yo mom just started texting 🙂

  13. iloveginger says:

    why do people "hate" texting? I often hear this from peeps born before 1970-LOL. I very much agree texting @ inappropriate times is super inconsiderate! I do love making plans thru texts, meet ups, work stuff, cute inspiring love texts..perfect!

  14. iloveginger says:

    awesome Lynn! i sorta miss my ol' answering machine, the one where you rewind the tape..and listening to the voicemail in real time

  15. Matt R says:

    I like phone calls. I like texts. It all depends on what the situation calls for.
    If I want to catch up with someone, I call them. If they don't want to answer, their lost.
    If I want to say meet up at such and such, I text because it"s visually easier to see the location/address.

    There are uses for both.

    Hard to stay personal with texting. Lack of tone = misinterpretations galore.

  16. IMO, talking on the phone has nothing to do with connecting with people or furthering a sense of community. When my phone rings (which, quite frankly, it never does, because never since I've owned it have I ever turned the ringer on) it's a rude interruption 99% of the time — either because I'm already hanging out with someone else in person, or because I'm writing or doing something else that requires concentration or presence. The other 1% of the time, I just don't feel like talking. My good friends know that if they want to connect with me, they can do it by text, email, chat, or make a plan to see me in person. The phone is a form of technology (and yes, it too is technology) that just doesn't work for me.

  17. Michael Thompson says:

    When communicating with the cell or telephone you usually can tell how the person actually feels about said conversation, by their tone of voice. It makes me feel like I am in their presence. I want to feel their emotions, not read about it.

  18. matthew says:

    The other day, this strange sound started emanating from my front pocket. It really caught me off-guard. I realized it was my phone, ringing. It's been on 'silent' since October, so I was a bit surprised.