Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

The Ringing Crisis

​I yawned as I waited for someone to reply on the other line. It’s not a call center job, but I was required to make follow-up calls to overseas customers to confirm some missing information in the probate accounts I handled. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and it was just the middle of my shift.

An airy, ghostly voice answered on the other line, “Helloooooo…”

My heart jumped to my throat. In a matter of three milliseconds, I debated against myself whether I should hung up and forget this account. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and weird things happen in the middle of my shift.

Trying to hide the nervousness of my voice, I promptly asked, “My I speak with a relative of so-and-so?”

The mysterious caller cleared her voice which turned out to be a husky one, “I am her sister.”

I was relieved. This is why I hate taking calls.

Ever since the beginning, I have the fear of talking on the phone.

I don’t have any genetic or scientific explanation for that. Every time I make a call, receive a call or just have a phone over my face, it’s like facing the greatest nightmare of my life. Somehow, not seeing the person I’m talking distracts me. I’m a visual person, I could concentrate at what I hear when it is associated with what I see. Staring at a blank wall while hearing somebody babble on the other end would cause me to day dream, especially if my mind would be confused on what to say next.

We never had a landline at home. The old folks did not see the necessity of it. Owning a phone only happened once. That was when my sister ordered an internet phone line at her house where we used to stay while her husband was working abroad. But even that was not of much use unless we needed to call a government agency or book for a room for a Baguio vacation (which happened only once). Still, I hated the experience of taking a call because I believed every caller makes a weird, gargled frank at my ear (which really never happened).

Thank goodness for cellphones. Receiving and sending text messages were less frightening for me. I believe it gave me more time to think over what was written (although I would overlook at them like a dyslexic at times) and carefully compose what I want to say. More so, calls are more expensive are text messages. Not until those unli calls and postpaid mobile lines came into existence…

This I had to endure at my former media career. Calls, which were always a part of this seemingly-glorious industry, made me mortified until I became numb with it. But I couldn’t be numb forever. Calls can range from placidly dumb to unnecessarily urgent. Soon, such calls made me a nervous wreck. I shudder whenever I hear that shrill voice on the line…

“Where are you now? How come your subject has not agreed on the interview?”

“I have not received a reply from you and our ratings have fallen and the boss made a scruffy feedback!”

“Scrap that! We got more important stories to air.”

“Where’s the script you’re working at? I need that NOW!”

There goes the triggering point. I knew I had to change my job and my phone (as well as that alarmist ringtone). Calling me would never help – it never did. It’s because my mind would play when I receive calls.

I guess calls are for emergencies. I’d rather read silly shoutouts on my smartphone than get a call, whether it be nice or alarming.

I wonder if I would get over this fear of calls. I bet no hi-tech innovation could ever take that out of me…just yet. So, don’t call…ever.

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