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Radically Inept
Thursday, July 29, 2004
  A post with little purpose

This post has no purpose. It's really a rant against...well, the phone to start with. I don't really like the phone. It's fine as a utilitarian object used to conduct business (and that limited) or contacting friends, family and acquaintances (again, limited), but otherwise, it is a source of serious discomfort for me.

I don't like the phone. I don't particuarily like speaking on the phone. Actually, with in three to five minutes of speaking on the phone, I am usually desparately trying to disengage from the conversation. This applies regardless of who is on the other end. What changes dependent on who is on the other end, is the effort I put in to trying to disengage with out hurting anyones feelings.

I like the phone for setting up business deals, and appointments. If we can do this in 3-5 minutes, it is a successful phone call. Beyound that, I begin to feel claustraphobic. I'm trapped. It's at its absolute worst when it's a close friend or family.

I am willing to speak with 'you' for hours, face to face. But on the phone, I lack patience. I can't see your body language. I can't tell if you really picked up on my poor effort at a pun. I can't tell if you're actually more intent on the TV program you have on. You have been reduced to 0s and 1s, and I'm not all that intrigued by 0s and 1s. No offense intended.

No, I'd much rather have a face to face dialogue. On the otherhand, I realize that is not always possible, and I make an extra effort to be conversational if I know that due to geographical distance, we aren't likely to see each other in person for a long time, even years. But if you are somewhere w/in a thirty minute drive, well, let's just get together to talk. If you're too busy, I understand, and we'll talk whenever.

Hell, I'm a talker when we're in person. You may have to throw me out of your home. Or, you may be forced to make excuses to leave my presence. But, you'll have to do it in person.

And please, don't call me after ten o'clock pm. If you do, please make sure that it is because someone is dying, and I can do something about it. Donate a kidney, performm CPR, set a broken bone, stop the attacker, etc. Otherwise, it can wait till morning.

I used to have a pager and a mobile phone. Now I have neither. I hope that I never have a job that requires me to have instant messaging, or Blackberry, or whatever. I don't appreciate the short leash. I used to make sure that I only ate in places w/ poor reception, or I'd just shut the phone off and pretend I forgot to recharge it. I don't want to be at your beck and call.

And that is the worst part of these technologies. They deny you your right to be by yourself. I know some people are very uncomfortable when they are alone.

I like to spend hours in a darkened basement, without the tv or radio on, and just think about what I've learned, am learning or could learn. And I don't need people calling me to chit chat about the weather or their car problems. Call me if you need a ride to work, you need your front walk shoveled, you need me to pick up your kids from school. Don't call me to discuss the price of an alternator, the fact the bus driver was late, or...

The Wife and I often speak of buying acreage far away from the maddening crowd. If we do it, I'm willing to do it without carrying alot of amenities with us. One would be the telephone. I'd like to have email (largely because no one expects you to be right there when it arrives, so I can deal w/ it at my convenience) and internet capability, but that is about all of the electronic connection I'd want to have with the outside world. I'm not even sure I'd check it very often. But I would hate to lose access to the convenience of information when I want it.

But financially, a small place on fifty acres still falls into the realm of fantasy or a goal we're working toward. If we can acheive it, we might just be able to without all outside contact. No offense, but if you haven't acheived nirvana and can't share the path, what are you offering?

I was trying to decide on a label for this attitude. It is in some ways the opposite of empathetic, but it is certainly not socio- or psycho-pathic. I think anti-social comes close, but the term carries its own negative connotations, and implies you are 'against' human contact. I'm not against human contact, I just don't really want much of it. And I'd prefer to choose when it occurs. Rarely, might well be my presence.

This could change, if humans change, but I don't see any reason for holding out for that eventuallity. 
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