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Basically, I don't talk on the phone any more. Yet I own a multitude of those little voice boxes, more than ever before in my life, and keep a telecommunications device on my person at all times. (And by "on my person," I mean "in my pants.") My discarded telephones are my child's playthings. Combined, these toys contain more computing power than was needed to send human beings to the moon, yet they are lifeless at the bottom of a red-painted toy chest, under a sea of stuffed animals, all made by loving Asian robot hands.

I find this odd.

However, if you possess my cell number and desire to call me on it any given night, I certainly can provide you my exact location, although it's usually only a few feet from where my land-line phone is located. And if you call that number I probably won't answer. This is because, as I stated, I almost never use the phone, and also I have Caller-ID. Plus, and this is embarrassing, I've actually forgotten how to speak on the phone. It is not like riding a bike. Riding a bike requires pedaling. Something you never forget. If only the pedal-phone had not been so soundly rejected!

There was a time I called everyone I knew, say, one Sunday afternoon a month. This time I'm referring to, let's name it 1996. Now, I feel it's intrusive to call someone at home, thinking it'd be better to call their cell when I'm out. Then when I'm out, I think my friends will think I'm an ass if I call them to catch up from my cell phone, like I'm some guy in a two-seater, mid-engine vehicle yammering on a phone twice the size of his head. You know, a big shot. So I simply don't call. It's an awkward psycho-social merry-go-round the phone companies must adore.

E-mail, I'm pretty good at. I write long, well-considered notes, like it's 1996. Hell, 1995. The friends who don't respond in kind, or send brief cryptic half-sentences--they are the vanguard, who've moved on to answering email on their phones. For them, email is a phone call, yet instead of clipped, distracted words, they employ something like the alphabet.

"Where are you?"
"Your sofa?"

But instead of "are," pretend I wrote "r" and instead of "Your" pretend I wrote "ur." I can't bear to actually do it. This is why pretending helps.

Still, there are many times I don't answer an email with a well-considered note, or anything at all. This is because there is so much I want to say, I don't know where to begin. My cold silence, strangely, almost certainly, means I love you.

All of you out there in the ether that I've never written or spoken to, I love you too.

So text me when you get a chance. I'll be sure to text you back something like, "Ksjh jkio op 9." You'll know what I mean.


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post #174
bio: john ball

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Category List
April - National Poetry Month 2005
April - National Poetry Month 2007
April - National Poetry Month 2008
April - National Poetry Month 2009
February Smackdown!
Here, I'm trying to be Funny
My personal favorites
Novel Excerpts
Random Memoir Fragment

Previous Posts
Please Support My Run in the NYC Marathon
A Fortunate Age (trailer)
Albums. Landlines. Square television.
I don't love anything, not even Christmas
My favorite place in the world
How do you Plea?

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· A Fortunate Age
· Free Radio, season 2