There's really nothing you'd put on my answerphone that I want to hear
PUBLISHED: 09:28 24 July 2012
I used to spend my life talking on the phone to the point where my parents installed an actual, physical lock on the telephone.
These were, of course, the days before texting and emailing. The days when people owned phones that were so Neolithic that they could have locks attached to their dials and when making a call involved being rooted to the spot, in my case in an Arctic hallway which deliberately and repressively didn’t contain a chair.
Back then, if someone told me I’d one day own a phone that allowed me to make unlimited calls, I’d have assumed they were clinically insane – I wasn’t even allowed to use the phone before 6pm until I was 18.
Now, I try and avoid phone calls as often as possible on the basis that they generally involve someone asking me to do something which takes up valuable time when I could be doing the thing that the last person who phoned me up asked me to do.
I refuse point blank to have an answerphone because I know that if I did, I’d be held to ransom by it: I can ignore a phone call, it’s harder to ignore a voice message.
If I don’t pick up the phone, it’s because I’m busy or I don’t want to talk and if I’m busy or don’t want to talk, I don’t want to receive a message instructing me to call someone ASAP, either.
All I probably want is a bath and a cup of tea.
It seems I’m not alone. New figures released this week reveal that texting is now the favoured means of communication above phoning, meeting or tweeting.
There are now people that I have entirely text-based relationships with (not those kind of relationships and not those kind of texts) and email has revolutionised my social life in that I now no longer need to have one.
The only way to reliably pass information to my daughter is via text, even if she’s sitting next to me on the sofa, although I am chilled to read research that suggests that adolescents who text 120 times a day or more are at a higher risk of having underage sex or using drugs or alcohol. My daughter texts around 120 times an hour.
Seeing as I pay for her phone, it would seem somewhat harsh if this act of selfless kindness was repaid with drunkenness or promiscuity, unless I’m the one getting drunk or putting it about a bit.