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I don’t much care for the phone. It wasn’t always this way; I’ve routinely blamed my distaste for the phone on working front-line reception and ADD. There’s something to that.

But. Upon reflection, I realize there’s probably something more. A reaction to something. Like the hysterical phone call from my mom, about this time of year eleven years ago, with news of my little brother’s death. He was 16.

Bad news can be hard to forget.

Then a couple years later, the drunk/drugged/suicidal phone calls from my mom started popping up every so often. Then more and more often. Followed by the call from the police almost seven years ago, asking if I’d heard from my mom in the last few days. And the answering machine message confirming what I knew was true the moment the phone first rang that morning.

Emotional shock on top of emotional shock.

Even so, I don’t know how it got built up like this. Other people get upsetting calls but keep yapping on the phone. But me? When the phone rings, my muscles tense up automatically. I don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers; voicemail is met with apprehension. I just plow through it because I have to, but it’s always a source of anxiety.

The phone is also cognitively harder for me, more so now than it was 15 years ago when you could hardly pry it from my hands. I can function alright on scheduled, focused work calls and teleconferences, but I have to really work at paying attention. And with cognitive side effects and/or symptomatic dysfunction, there are times I can’t remember the start of my sentence or what I was talking about just six words ago. It’s embarrassing and much harder to gracefully cover on the phone than in the text of an email.

So I haven’t made a purely social, conversational phone call to anyone but family in years now. Sound a little isolating? Yeah. But no one has called me either.

I don’t necessarily want it to stay this way. Just sayin’.

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