Column: Hang ups over the telephone

Don't ring Carol Forster when it's bathtime
Don't ring Carol Forster when it's bathtime

This week I’m back to the pet hates and one of my biggest – the phone call.

Man I hate the things.

It started years ago when the phone would ring just as I had one foot in the bath, invariably turning out to be ‘that someone’ with all their latest problems.

Do not get me wrong, I can be sympathy personified, but when you are struggling to put the phone down, while dripping, because of someone’s monologue, it does not make you a big fan.

Then came the days of queueing up to make phone calls at some grotty phone box, complete with pee on the floor. Often the phone did not work either, once you had jumped through hoops to get to the thing.

Unlike texting, you cannot choose your moment so if mad Caroline chooses to phone you at midnight to tell you all about her latest breakup, you are there, captive audience, with no easy way to say, ‘Er look, I’ve got an early start’ when she is wailing down the phone.

Then there is that other little bugbear to contend with - the cold caller. Let's face it, they have got you by the proverbials as you have to answer, just in case it is important.

To my amusement, someone once told me they would keep the cold caller on the phone instead, with nonsense replies and strange accents. On other days they would tell them a tale about their knee problem.

Good idea!

And also, la piece de la resistance, the automated call service. Press button one! Press button two! For Pete’s sake, how many buttons do I have to press before I reach a human being.

I really miss the days when you could do just that: and converse with a person and thus your conversational needs could be tailor-made to suit you and the situation, instead of the tick box approach.

I have some daft memories though, attached to phone calls.

Take the fact that years ago we would regularly get calls asking for Sister Smith, as our number was so similar to a Convent.

Finally, perversely, I do love mobiles and texting. Perhaps some perceive this as a cooler way to communicate, but for me, the freedom to choose when and how to express myself, beats the phone call every time.

Or perhaps it is simply a preference for the written to the spoken.