Do You Still Talk On The Phone?
This past weekend I hung out with two of my middle school best friends, and although we hadn't seen each other in a while it was like no time had passed at all. We got to talking about this and that, chatting about who from our school got married, who got divorced, who had kids, who was crazy, who still wore too much makeup. It was great! Earlier that same day I was on the phone with two of my best friends from high school - "The Clique" is what we called ourselves - and we similarly were right where we'd left each other.
When I think back on the beginning stages of these friendships, I remember things fondly. I remember the sleepovers, the notes passed between lockers, the crushes, and the school dances. But what I remember most are the endless hours spent on the phone gossiping and chatting about this and that. My phone conversations with friends were epic before "epic" became a thing. My parents installed an extra phone line in the house so as not to be bothered by the constant barrage of "Hi Mrs. Gaskin, may I speak with Morgan?" I'm pretty sure my friends' parents did the same.
After finishing my homework (a prerequisite to using the phone), I would take a bath and then initiate the first call. Whoever received that call would then use three-way calling to loop in the next friend who would loop in the next. One person would play DJ, holding the phone close enough to the radio to hear the evening countdown. And that's pretty much how it went. Many life decisions were made on those calls. With my middle school friends, we would actually chat about homework (even though my parents think I'm lying about that) and then gossip about band drama. With The Clique, we planned out how our lives would go - all of us would be doctors, get married by 25, go to Rice University, and live down the street from each other. NONE of that happened, but we still laugh at the forward thinking nature of those discussions. When we got a new boyfriend, it needed to be discussed. When we broke up, we would plan a "Sympathy Sleepover" on those calls. When we needed to get somewhere we would devise a plan for how to "present" the case to our parents about the need to jump into the car with the only one of us who could drive. It was all the drama, all the time. And I loved it.
I also miss it...
There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't have a chat via phone with my girls at every stage of life. Even in college my best friend and I would sit on the phone every night to recap the day until we fell asleep, then woke back up and called to say good morning.
These days, I can count on one hand the people that I talk to via phone on a regular basis. The majority of my communications are via text message which is incredibly efficient, but I also find it incredibly dry at times. I prefer the fluidity of actual conversation - measuring the tone and tenor of someone's voice when they react to something, and hearing an actual laugh rather than interpreting an emoji.
But I'm guilty of death by text as well...
Even though I prefer phone chats, I think I've adopted the practice of texting just like the next person. Every month I set a goal to actually pick up the phone and call five people. I usually only call two. And I know I'm not alone. In the "good old days" people would actually "visit" each other. They would literally just stop on by each others' homes, sometimes unannounced, and "visit awhile." Someone would cook something and they would sit in the actual formal living room and chat. Then phones gave us a way to visit remotely. Now texting gives us a way to visit virtually. It's futuristic, but what have we lost?
In my view, we now live in a microwave society. We prefer to get information and communicate as quickly as possible. We interact less with each other and interact more with our phones or other devices. It's efficient, yes, but is it as valuable? I don't have the answer to that. But what I do know is that I miss the days when a phone call was life to me. When epic three-way calls with my girlfriends were the ONLY thing to do. When just hearing my best friend say, "goodnight" meant more to me than anything.
So what say you? Do you still talk on the phone? Do you give the side eye to your phone when you hear it ringing? Do you use emojis? (I need to write a post on the overuse of them...). Sound off in the comments below.
Photo credit: Brooke Lark