I was not tagged in one of those, “Tell so many things about yourself that other people might not know” posts, so it is likely that no one really cares. It also means that because I didn’t get tagged I won’t actually do it on Facebook. But it looked kind of fun so I thought I would share some things that you might not know about me.
I have allergies. Wait before you click off this post saying, hey so does everyone else, I have to tell you I have some really strange allergies. Yes, I am allergic to the normal things like poison ivy, and occasionally pollen. When I was young they thought I might be allergic to penicillin, but it turns out I was actually just allergic to the suspension that they used to deliver it. These are all normal things. I think everyone has an allergy or two like this. But have one that is really kind of odd.
I am allergic to the phone. No I don’t break out sneezing when ever I see a phone, nor do I break out in a rash. No, those would be normal things. No I am allergic to the phone in one of those love hate kind of ways. I hate getting phone calls, I don’t even like to answer the phone at home. I hate making phone calls. I will send a dozen emails and write a thousand IM messages if I can avoid using the phone, even if it takes much, much longer. I have a deep seeded fear of using the phone.
I didn’t always have this fear. When I was younger I used to love to use the phone. I mean my girl friend (Now my wife) lived nearly a thousand miles away, and our semi weekly phone calls were the highlight of my life throughout almost all of high school. That and getting letters from her all the time.
I think my allergy of phones came later. Right before we got married I worked for a short stint as a telemarketer. While they were nice to my wife (who also worked as a telemarketer) and would often apologize for not wanting what she was selling, I often ended up with very angry people who would shout at me and tell me how horrible I was for waking them up when they were on 3rd shift.
That might have been the beginning but it certainly was not the last straw that gave me my hay fever for phones. No, over the next ten years I worked in various IT and customer support roles. While, “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” is great for most things, as any one who has ever worked with a System 36 will tell you, that tends to blow the power supply, and when the manager of a location is screaming in your ear because their systems are all down, and it will be two hours before IBM can be there to replace it, life is not really fun on your end of the phone.
Working for various companies with products that didn’t work all that well, who had QA managers who believed engineers were “QA in the field,” and managers who liked to make unannounced site visits and promise things that the software had no way of doing and then leave the engineer to “Make it work.” I learned to hate the phone. Dread that midnight, during the commute, during dinner, while in the shower, phone call.
Don’t get me wrong, not all my phone calls have been bad. Some of the folks I worked with over the years, I actually felt like I made a real connection with, even if I never met them in person. And sometime a phone call has been my life line, when I had been traveling or even when I am just feeling really down. But most of the time this was not the case.
I have even gotten some funny stories out of some of the phone calls. There was one person who would call every Monday morning at 6 AM when they came in to open the location. She would call to tell us their systems were all down. After the first phone call, that lasted over an hour, I learned to tell her that she needed to check the dimmer switches on all the monitors whenever she would call in.
Over all my phone experiences are pretty bad. Usually a phone call means major problems for me. It means that I will spend the next few hours doing something I had not planned. So over the years my aversion for the phone has be come an allergy. I avoid phones whenever possible. (Unless my wife is calling.)
“Please leave a message, and I will do my best to get back to you.”
You can find the rest of these posts by clicking on the “7 Things” category