Tuesday 2 June 2015

Answer the Phone

Many, many moons ago, every house in the street had a phone. Usually in the kitchen (at least in every house I ever went in to), and sometimes parents had an extension in their bedroom (mine did.)

I can still remember our first home phone number. 824271. And mum and dad's work number was 824398.

Dad said "when you answer the phone, say 'hello, this is Cate'"

Over the years, I spent many hours talking on the phone. Staying up for hours, talking to my best friend, sharing the stories of our days, even when it hadn't been that long since we last saw each other.

"Good morning, South House, this is Cate"

When I was at school, in year 12 the students used a building as their common room, called South House. In some quirky twist of fate, my locker was in the room with the phone. The phone that rang whenever a teacher wanted to speak to a student. Someone had to answer that phone, and as much as I hated answering the phone, the job went to me.

I recognised teachers by their voice, knew who was chasing whom and could pass messages quickly. At our final school dinner, I won an award from the teachers for my "proficient skills with the phone"

"Good morning, The Kitchen Man, Cate speaking"

When I left school, I worked for my parents, starting out answering phones.

I got to know voices again, I knew the sales managers from the suppliers wanted to speak to dad, and the accountant wanted mum, the guys in the factory were usually checking something with dad or I. Voices I didn't know were usually directed to our sales manager as a place to start.

But over the years, I've stopped being able to answer the phone.

My mobile is always on silent so I don't hear it if it rings (but it's usually not far from me, in case school calls.)

I explained it to Steve once - I can't answer the phone if I don't know who is on the other end. When I know who's on the other end, it's easy to talk to them, they know me and I know them. Caller ID makes it easier to decide whether to answer the phone, too, but our landline doesn't have caller ID, so I don't answer it.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm missing some skill by not answering the phone, then I do answer it, and it's a telemarketer who wants to sell me raffle tickets in the latest art union, and I know I've made the right choice to avoid phones.

Send me a text message instead.

Do you answer the phone?

Linking up with Essentially Jess


  1. I use to be good with the phone, these days it's just another time waster and every second call seems to be someone selling something.

  2. I used to answer the phone all the time. Now I screen for caller ID. If I don't recognize, I don't answer. If it is important, they'll leave a message and I can call back. Usually if I don't recognize the number it is a telemarketer with no idea that I already have excellent health care insurance, thank you, or someone wanting me to donate to their charitable cause (police associations seem to have about eight different charities just in our local area).

  3. There's too much telemarketing these days. Buy something online and the next week there's someone ringing you to sell funeral insurance!

  4. I never really thought about this, but you are so right. We don't answer the phone anymore! I'm thinking of getting rid of the home phone 'cos the only people that ring on that are marketing types. Oh and 26377 was our home phone when I was a kid. That's the kind of thing that makes me want to keep it... x

  5. Phone answering.......hmmm. I absolutely HATE IT! LOL We don't have a home phone anymore, haven't had one for the past 4 years. My husband and I both have cell phones but the bad part about that is........mine is our OLD home phone number (had it put on my cell phone when we began travelling). That way if something happened to one of my kids or grandkids, they could reach me no matter where we were. The GOOD thing about the cell phone is I can screen calls. If "unavailable" shows up or a number that's not tagged as family or friends, then NO I DO NOT ANSWER IT. If it's important, they'll leave a message!
    My husband hardly EVER answers the phone. He was a truck driver for 34 years and lived by the phone and always said he didn't want a phone around once he retired. His rarely rings but mine? Grrrrrr.

  6. I always had an issue with answering calls from unknown numbers, and figured that they would leave a message if it was important. That all changed with my son's ASD diagnosis and the flood of dr's. specialists, OTs, STs, service providers, NDIS coordinators, advocates etc etc and ad nauseum. Now I have to woman up and answer.
    Dani @ sand has no home

  7. I don't answer the home phone unless its a number I know because its ALWAYS a telemarketer even though we're on the do not call list. Most people have my mobile number anyway so I usually answer that unless its an interstate number, but then most of the time its on silent like yours. I started putting it on silent when Hayley was a bub and just never got out of the habit.

  8. I dont even have a home phone anymore and unless I know the person calling, I don't answer most of the time. Like you, whenever I answer I regret it.

  9. I prefer texting over phones, but I will answer it if it calls. I used to avoid it if it was a private number, but now I just answer it. You never know if it's someone important on the line.

  10. No! I hate answering the phone too. And it always seems to be telemarketers. If it's important they'll call back.

  11. We have caller ID and we ignore calls where it is a withheld number. We registered with the telephone preference service which is supposed to stop unwanted calls that come from the UK but so many companies use foreign call centres now. We recently went ex-directory so no one can just randomly find us in a phone book. I have no patience with call centres and if they catch me at a bad time I tend to just say 'hang on ...' Then put the phone on the side and wait until they get fed up waiting for me to return.


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