Call me…

I recently began scheduling a weekly phone call with a friend who lives far away. I don’t love talking on the phone. In fact, I kind of hate it and am generally guilty of multitasking to the point of rudeness when on the phone. But these calls are special. I make space for these calls to happen.

It happens that this friend is also a collaborator on a couple of different major projects, and we use our weekly calls to keep each other on task and perky. Of course we deviate into more personal stuff, or digress about our anxiety over the civil unrest in Libya, Tunisia, New Jersey and Wisconsin. But mostly these are working calls, progress checks – if we had clients not ourselves this hour would be billable.

As I was musing the other day about hand-written notes, a phone call can do things that a lot of new media “communications” cannot. There’s something about the immediacy of the voice on the phone that permits the illusion of closeness. And, if I allow myself to step away from the computer while on the phone, there can be something meditative about the time spent sharing this way. I like to take my coffee into the living room and sit in one of my overstuffed chairs and close my eyes while I talk. This isn’t always possible or practical – seems that our conversations often require an email to be sent, a file to be uploaded. But when it is possible, it’s lovely, and all the more so because it allows me time to unplug and just chat.

When I lived in New York, this same friend and I would take long, peripatetic walks through the Village. We were flâneurs, circumambulating the city, finding poetry in peculiar places, agitating each other to think and feel and do in ways we might not have done without each other’s encouragement and stimulation. We’d often hold hands or link arms while we walked and talked, only breaking contact long enough to make large, emphatic gestures, or point to something particularly exciting in the architecture, or hidden against a stoop. I wore out a lot of shoes in New York. These walks would often end with prosecco in a little nook of a restaurant we’d uncovered while strolling. Or a pastry and coffee at one of our regular favorite places on University Place or down in SoHo. These weekly phone calls have taken the place of those strolls, and my whole week is the better for them.

A lot of social media, though it pretends to be facilitating “conversation,” really seems to just facilitate glibness, and a sort of smug pithiness that forecloses real discussion and debate. A phone call can allow a little more provided, that is, both parties make space to allow communication to happen. So, friends, when you’ve got a minute, give me a ring. I’d love to hear the sound of your voice.


2 thoughts on “Call me…

  1. Admittedly, I hate talking on the phone.
    I didn’t used to be that way, but these days, I just find more ease in shooting a quick text.

    However, I find, when the mood strikes, that a lengthy convo with a good friend changes my tune. I find myself enraptured in the catch up, lost in how much I didn’t know I needed to say, and how much I miss the times when I shared a conversation with whomever I’m talking with when we lived in closer proximity to one another.

    My friend Carrie will sometimes pour a glass of wine, light a cigarette, and call me…the things we used to do when we settled into an evening to really hash it all out.
    I love this tradition.

    I need to call my friend Ashley.


  2. I do this with Tina! Sometimes because we make a point to call each other around the same time every week, we end up talking more than we did when she lived here. We can ease into conversations, work up to what’s really on our minds. It’s such a comfort.

    Another cool thing — XBOX live lets you synch your instant Netflix queue and watch together with other XBOX live accounts. It sounds cheesy but Tina, Kirk and I have been going through various tv series this way on Sunday mornings and it really is the next best thing to being in the same room with her.

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