Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fear of phoning

At my first professional job (as opposed to my first job, see post below) I had an inordinate fear of using the telephone. Got to make a call, gotta call people I don't know, need to make this call by the end of the day. Sit and state at the phone. Pick up the phone. Pretend to dial the phone. State at the phone some more. Dial the number and then hang up quickly.

Since my first professional job was as a newspaper reporter, this particular phobia put just a little bit of a crimp in the performance of my duties. As a reporter, you need quotes. To get quotes, you need to talk to people. To talk to people, you need to dial . . . well you get the picture.

I've always been able to hold my own with the written word, but being an assertive go-getting type was not my strong suit right out of college. I was afraid that if I called people - that I might be bothering them, that they might not like me, that they might say something mean to me, that they might, that they might, well, anyway, I spent a lot of time sitting at my desk, approaching a cold sweat, staring at the telephone.

Yet somehow I managed. I would make the calls, I would talk to people, and they would hardly ever be mean to me and I would get the stories I needed into the paper for the week.

And then the next week would role around, more stories to write, more phone calls to make. Damn telephone mocking me. Until one day, picking up the phone wasn't so bad anymore. How did this happen? Partly, I left newspapers to take a job that required a lot more telephoning and where many people probably did find my calls truly annoying.

So now, safely back in the world of newspapers, the telephone is, if not exactly my best friend, at least more than a passing acquaintance. Calls to make, fingers are dialing. No one home? Call again. Still no answer? Get the cell phone number.


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