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I don't know why you say hello I say goodbye

I’m very well connected.

Which is to say, I don’t have Obama’s Blackberry number or anything, but there are approximately 300 different ways to contact me at any time of the day or night, regardless of where I may be in the Universe. My Nexus One alone grants me vast connectivity super powers undreamt of by mortal man.

Here’s the thing …

I hate talking on the phone. HATE. IT. This isn’t a new thing for me. Practically since birth I have absolutely dreaded making “official” phone calls, and I have avoided lengthy conversations with all but my closest friends and family members.

This started off as a practical aversion. When phones were tethered to the wall by short, spiraled, constantly-tangled cords, I hated being chained to one spot all the time. So in our house, we had one of those un-Godly long (spiraled, tangled) cords that let you get from the kitchen to the sofa, tripping up anyone who dared walked behind you.

When we graduated to a cordless phone, I marveled at the ability to move around the house, with only a sudden burst of static to let me know when I had reached my boundaries. And as cordless phones improved, I was happy to go for longer and longer jaunts. I dreamt of the day when I could have a phone that let me be anywhere, just so I wouldn’t have to stay locked in place.

And now that dream has become an uber reality! I can be anywhere in the world and be on the phone! My roaming range has extended to nearly every corner of the Earth! I have achieved phone synergy! And I hate it.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a WRITER. I like to spew words onto a page and sit back as they do all the work of communicating for me. I can tappity-tappity on my keyboardy and then send my thoughts out into the universe, for all to absorb. If what I’m saying makes no sense, or if I read it and think, “I can say that better, and with fewer swear words directed at the Pope,” then I can change what I wrote before it does irreparable damage.

Not so with the phone! Every word out of my mouth is unfiltered and unedited. I’m constantly spewing bells I can’t unring.

Now that I can get voicemails instantly translated into e-mails and send 911 calls as text messages I really can’t see a need to use icky analog vocal comms anymore. I think I’ll boycott them, phase them out. From now on, it’s texting and e-mail and maybe that Facetime thing every now and then. It’s tweets and FB status updates (how come there’s no cutesy term for that?). LinkedIn, Google Buzz, blogging, YouTube, Vimeo, Skype … jeez, I hadn’t even realized how many ways I have to NOT talk to someone.

I’m leaving for Europe in six days. This is as good a time as any to experiment with ditching traditional phone service and sticking with all-digital, mostly text-based stuff. If I survive, I will write the entire harrowing tale. If not, I’ll tweet about it. #sendhelp

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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