In the summer of 2018, Brigid Delaney, writing in The Guardian complained that talking with a friend on the telephone was a “time suck” - too tedious to be bothered with.
Instead, we should all be using WhatsApp or texting, she says. When her phone rings,
”I feel such a wave of animus and fear that I am unsettled for the rest of the day. Usually I don’t answer it.”
Amimus? Fear? A couple of weeks ago, a different Guardian writer, Melanie Tait, at first confesses to a similar response:
”There are lots of things to panic about with a phone call,” she writes, “chief among them being: what if we run out of things to say, and there’s, God forbid, silence?
But Ms. Tait has now discovered the joys of phone chats and her goal is to explain their attraction and benefits to the likes of Ms. Delaney which apparently means most of the younger generation. Discussing a friend who calls her in the evening, Ms. Tait writes,
”We’ll spend a lot of these conversations trying to make each other laugh, but I’ve also noticed we’re both able to share a little more in this telephonic friendship than we do in real life (our real-life friendship also being a very robust one).
“The lack of eye contact means some questions are easier to ask and some things are easier to reveal.
“It’s like being transported back to high school in the 90s, where you’d be at school all day, and at night, extension chord dragged into the pantry while the rest of the house slept.
“Phone D&Ms (“deep and meaningfuls”) were one of the great emotional releases in pre-mobile teen life, a chance to talk away the existential drama of the school day.”
Of course, people of our age have always known that and personally, it's how I keep my far-flung friends close – with long, sometimes two or three hours at a time, phone conversations where we solve all the problems of the world together. Until next time.
Tait winds up her essay as a thoroughly convinced convert:
”Tonight, headphones in, a phone call or two means I’ll discover something new about someone I care about, laugh at least three times, reveal something I wouldn’t tell anyone else and maybe even discover a new Liza Minnelli impersonator I’d never heard of.”
My former husband, Alex Bennett, and I had our biweekly Skype chat yesterday. I think we spent way too much time on my health predicament, but he doesn't agree.