Friendships & Phones

I have a love-hate relationship with phones and writing this blog post has increased that. I finished the post, went to add an image or two and the post disappeared. If there is a secret drafts file somewhere, I can't seem to find it. So I start again.

The phone ringing in my childhood home often evoked apprehension for me. We had two different phone numbers. One was for my dad's business; one was for the family. It was the business phone that caused me to develop a lifetime mixed attitude toward phones.

My father was a funeral director and for many years owned the only ambulance service in our small mountain town. The sound of that business phone ringing in my parents bedroom signaled sad or scary possibilities. Either a loved one had died, leaving a gap in the circle of loved family and friends for those left behind or someone was seriously injured or sick.

When I got old enough to be trusted to answer the phone while my parents were out, I would earnestly pray for it to not ring.

My career kept me tied to phones. I was a reporter and then an editor on small town newspapers. That meant taking a turn at being on call for fires, tragedies, tears, fears. No-one ever phoned in the middle of the night with a tip on a great feature story idea.

Then I spent years as the director of communications for a company that was a major employer of 500 and a key contributor to the economy. I was once again tethered to the phone. We had tragedies in our processing plant. We had environmental accidents. Somehow these always happened when I was home on lunch break or reading a book on a quiet evening.

But there is a love side to my relationship with phones. I love my cell phone but that's fodder for another blog post. I keep a land line for too short conversations with grown children, with loved grandchildren and with friends. I am grateful for Caller ID as that alerts me to the too frequent calls from scammers. Sometimes I pray for their souls, literally out loud pray. Other times I vent and later regret my own rudeness.

But there is the plus side or owning a phone and here it is.

Recently I spent over an hour on the phone with my friend of over 70 years. Many miles separate us but we remain bonded. We shared joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments. She said the phone rang when she was thinking of me. I could feel her hug through the phone. We know each other so well.

Once when we were teenagers, we ran out of topics in a very long phone call. After all, we'd only parted ways a few hours before. So we decided to lay the phones down and read magazines until we thought of something to say. My mom walked in. She'd been trying to call home. She was not impressed with my explanation as to what was going on. That phone call was OVER!

And so is this blog post.

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