Be a Sexy Senior Freshman with a Landline Phone---Reb MacRath
So here I was, at long last in Tucson, suddenly finding myself back in school. I was in a different sort of school, but faced with the same pressures and as lost as any freshman. How do they get to Building FX103...then to XY2B2 in time for the next class? Where's the book store, the student union, the financial aid office? How would I ever learn to pass Medieval Lit, Calculus, Latin, Philosophy, Public Speaking?
I'd suffered all of such questions before. And now they came in different forms yet made of the same stuff: How do I get around by bus when I can't even draw a bead on the city's layout? How do I find work when I'm brand new here and unemployed...How do I furnish my new apartment when I'm starting with limited funds and without a stick of furniture...?
After six days in the city I'd spent hundreds of dollars being chauffeured around town by Lyft: to and from assorted stores, back and forth from the UPS Store where a friend had mailed a dozen boxes of books. In those six days my sense of transit helplessness had begun to paralyze me as I exhausted my limited funds. But on the seventh day I understood a central truth:
We never stop being freshmen in life, in one way or another. We may be campus big shots in any field you please, but there we are suddenly writing a book...or learning how to edit one or market it online. And then there we are in all out glory, miserably singing the old freshman blues. In Tucson I found myself facing so many confidence busters that I countered with a strategy I call the
I reasoned that if I could one fear or phobia that had bested me for years, I could 'transfer funds' from that winning account into others that seemed penniless. And I knew exactly where to turn: with my dread of telephones and my belief that I was helpless on them. I hated the poor connections, the lag between words spoken and received, the resulting vocal overlaps, the constant refrains 'I can't hear you' and 'Are you still there?'
My phone phobia was also rooted in two nightmarish stints at call centers and bad experiences in the old days with glib agents with the gift for extracting information new writers should keep to themselves. I'm more confident in person where I can read a person's face and body language. I don't want to get to know someone over the phone....I want to get to know them first through emails and text messages.
On reflection, I decided that 90% of my phone phobia resulted from my cell phone. I missed the reassuring heft of a high-quality landline, the earpiece solidly pressed to my ear and the mouthpiece directly before me. I missed the clarity of sound and the sense of privacy as I sit at my desk, not on the rickety seat of a bus or in a crowded café. And I want a number that I can control, one that I'm slow to give out.
Below you will see my solution. My 3-tier tower of power contains:
1) An AT&T slimline phone connected to...
2) An Ooma VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) device connected to...
3) The modem for my high-speed internet service.
I use the phone sparingly, enjoying the few calls I make and receive. The self-confidence that comes from wise use of a top-quality landline system has empowered me in other ways. After all, if a non-techie can tackle a three-decade phobia, what's to stop me from learning to work a room or knock 'em dead on Zoom calls?
This is my report. Reb MacRath, Senior Freshman.
Also, I'm always amazed at what seems important enough to phone someone these days. I've seen people shopping in the supermarket who call home to check which brand of cake they should buy, or if they should get two pints of milk instead of one... surely not life and death situations requiring use of the airwaves that contribute towards climate change, at the same time adding to your daily exposure of supposedly "safe" radiation?
A: I'm 3 blocks away now.
B: Is it 2 blocks now?
A: 2-1/2. Missed a green light b/c kid dropped ice cream cone.
A: Light green again.