I’ve been terrified of the phone since I was a child. I look around at my family and I seem to be the only one cursed with the phobia. It’s evidently a recessive trait.
I was only nine-years-old when my phobia first showed itself. I discovered this when I began to schedule my own play dates. We didn’t use the phone much in those days. If you wanted to go play with your friends, you simply went to each other’s house and asked if your friend could come out and play. The rules were pretty relaxed back then. We definitely had a lot more freedom in those days. But I digress…
Before I made a call, I would write out my lines on an index card. I would dial, and while I waited for the person to answer, my heart pounded in my ears. Once the mother answered I said, “May I please speak with Suzie?”
Her mother said, “Sure, honey. I’ll go get her.” It seemed like an eternity while I waited. My palms would be sweaty. Finally, Suzie picked up and I read from my index card, “Hello, Suzy. This is Saxon. I was wondering if you’d like to go to the movies on Saturday?” (This was made all the more awkward because I had a crush on Suzie.)
I waited for Suzie’s response, on the verge of a panic attack. What if she said no, or she rolled her eyes? That was the problem with the phone, you couldn’t see people’s expressions.
“Let me go ask,” Suzie said. I heard her cover the phone and ask, “Mom, can I go to the movies with Saxon on Saturday?”
I heard her mom say, “Sure.”
I sighed heavily, so relieved that I accidentally hung up the phone. I stared down at the phone in its cradle. Now, I would have to call her back. I forgot to give her any particulars like time, place, or movie. And worse, Suzie will think I hung up on her.
The phone rang. Suzie didn’t even say hello. She asked what time we’re going.
“One fifteen,” I managed to squeak.
“K, bye.” She hung up.
Things haven’t gotten much better since then. I still dread making a phone call, even now that I’m a grownup. I dial and wait for the person to answer. My heart pounds and my mouth goes dry. When they answer my mind is wiped completely clean. I have no idea what to say. I’ve completely forgotten the power of speech.
It’s a good thing I’m a writer, huh?
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