It seems like a large number of people do not enjoy talking on the phone. I hear some people yapping on about why those darn kids are all into text messaging these days and why don’t they just pick up the phone. And while I myself am not a big “texter,” I certainly understand the appeal. I am one of those folks who does not like to talk on the phone.
Email is my best friend. There is no talking. There is no awkward silences while I grope around for another topic or keep rehashing the same topic again and again (my most used and humiliating ploy). There is just a nice non-talky email that I can write as quickly or as slowly as need be and that I can reply to at my leisure. I love you, Gmail. You are indeed my second soul mate (Bart being the first, of course, even though I cannot set auto-filters on him to neatly categorize my correspondence and delete J.Crew ads without me having to see them. But then, Gmail rarely cleans the shower.)
Anyway, when I do have to talk on the phone, particularly for non-personal-type calls when someone calls me and needs something (and why are people calling me with needs anyway? don’t they see that I have needs and those needs include not speaking on the phone?) I have come to recognize that “okay” is the most powerful word in my lexicon.
It stops those chatterers in their tracks. They think “‘okay,’ what? Did I just agree to something? Is she taking care of my problem? I better get of this phone call now, because I clearly have no idea what in tarnation is going on” (obviously the people I talk to on the phone say things like “tarnation.” Don’t you speak to people like that?).
Once I’ve understood what the point of the phone call is (or ascertained that there is in fact, no point) or agreed to do something, I say “okay.” And we’re done. They figure 1) I understand, 2) I will take care of it and 3) and I am ready to go. Brilliant!
Occasionally, of course, it doesn’t work (this plan is not foolproof – what do you take me for?). A gentleman today responded to my firm and polite “okay” with a “what’s okay? Is everything okay?” Friends, there is no where to go from there. You must start over and try again from the top. And then weep bitterly at the failure of your beloved “okay.”
Also, Mom. You can keep calling. I will never “okay” you.