So Call Me. Not Maybe. Definitely.

Talk on phone

Photo courtesy of Mimzy on

What I’m about to share may shock you. You likely will throw up your hands in disbelief and shout, “She’s lying!”

We didn’t have a telephone until I was about 14. My dad didn’t see the point in spending the money on one. If we needed to use a phone, we could walk to Grandma’s and call from there.

Grandmother Elizabeth (no financially better off than we were) not only had a telephone, she had a special piece of furniture where the telephone resided. It was a one-piece number: a chair with an attached table with a storage unit for the telephone book.

Back then when you talked to someone on the phone, you actually really talked to them. Because there wasn’t anything else to do while you sat in the chair, except maybe look out the window or perhaps doodle.

Talking on the phone used to have some element of salience to it. Hearing someone announce, “You have a telephone call,” made us feel special. These days when everyone has his/her own phone with the ability to make calls dependent only upon available cell service, it’s just so ho-hum.

And we no longer sit still and concentrate on our calls. I know a lot of people pace or walk while on the phone. We cook, unload the dishwasher, feed the dog, search online for a new cat video, scroll through the television menu, and fold laundry while we talk on the phone.

We talk while we shop, while we exercise, and while we drive.

It doesn’t matter if we’re at a restaurant, in line at the bank, in a medical waiting room, or at a concert; we can (and do) talk everywhere.

I’m not even going to bring up those people who use the toilet while on the phone. Whoops, I just did.

Why do we do these things? Why can’t we just sit down and hold a conversation?

I’m not sure there is a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Because if you think I’m blaming everyone except myself, think again.

I was on the phone for over an hour today with a specialist from a supplemental Medicare insurance company representative. This is open season for us “elderly” folk and so I’ve been reviewing my husband’s and my options.

The specialist was great—good customer service skills, knowledgeable, polite. But going through all the options and answering the questions took so much time. I got antsy just sitting there holding the phone, so I put the phone on speaker mode and started doing stuff while talking.

I filed some papers. I changed the sheets on the bed. I walked up and down the stairs six times. I looked up the phone number of the person who takes care of our leaves in the fall. And yes, I fed the dog.

I did not use the toilet even though I needed to.

Maybe I had to be active because I didn’t have a personal connection to Luke at GoMedigap. I’ve noticed I’m more likely to sit still and just talk when I’m on the phone with someone I care deeply about.

But not always. For that, I’m offering up this public apology: If, while talking on the phone with me, you have heard dishes rattling, pot stirring, sheet rustling, or dog slurping, I’m sorry.

I promise to do better the next time we talk.


A recent post of mine on the term “elderly”

A little science on why some people pace when on the phone


6 thoughts on “So Call Me. Not Maybe. Definitely.

  1. MaryBeth Lerch says:

    Norma, I just love reading your blogs. This one, particularly at this time of the year, really hits home. I wish more people would take the time to sit, listen and talk with each other. We are all busy, that is the nature of our world, and we are all so geared towards saying “I don’t have time for…” We need to make the time, even with casual contacts with people like Luke at Go Medigap. Relationships are key to our good mental health and we all could use some help in that area. My mom calls me several times a day, just to share a thought. I always feel happy for taking the time to listen and chat, even if it is for a just minute or two.

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      MaryBeth, thanks so much for writing! You made my day. And yes, I did actually learn a little about Luke…I asked him how he got into this particular line of work. He said his grandparents struggled with all the Medicare-related stuff, that he decided he wanted to help not only them but other people like his grandparents. Now isn’t that a feel-good story?

  2. Beverly says:

    Norma, I have told most of my family members to call me in the evening – when I’m the least busy. However, if that doesn’t work, I take my portable phone (still have a landline) and sit in a comfortable chair to talk. Also, we attended a workshop to learn about supplemental Medicare plans. After that, their representative (a broker) came to our house and let us choose the plan that best suited us – absolutely no pressure to choose a certain plan – and anytime we decided to change plans, she came back and helped us do all the necessary paperwork. This worked best for us – everything on the dining room table in black and white.

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      Did you see Judy’s comment regarding STOP (what you’re doing), DROP (into a comfy chair) and ROLL (with the conversation). I love it!

  3. Judy Jones says:

    I’m guilty! I can’t recall a conversation that I wasn’t doing something!
    I too apologize. I am making my New Years resolution early:
    stop what your doing
    drop in a comfy seat
    and roll with the conversation
    Thanks Norma for the wake-up!!!!!!!!
    And I too remember the chair-telephone bench and the many hours spent talking to friends <3

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      Yes, I think it was you I was talking to on the phone this summer and you asked, “What are you doing?” I believe I was washing pans by hand. So see…you were a blog inspiration!

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