Nobody talks on the phone anymore. We text. We Skype. Phoning is antiquated. You phone your parents and grandparents, but rarely your friends. It feels awkward to call someone. Texting is so much "neater."
But this makes me sad; I owe a lot to the telephone. I owe my marriage to the telephone.
I have three answers to the question “Where did you meet your husband?” They vary in both simplicity and truthfulness.
These are (from least to most truthful):
- At Coachella (“cool”)
- At LAX (“wut”)
- On MySpace (I may be being catfished; I’m still not sure.)
Due to the various technologies that came into play at the beginning of this courtship, it’s important to understand that this relationship could not have begun at any time other than it began. It would not have happened two years earlier; it would not have happened two years later.
Conditions were perfect.
I had been dumped by the first boy I had ever slept with four days after I slept with him for the first time. I had made out with exactly one other person since that dumping, but that was going nowhere. Around this time my friend Amy told she had been talking to this funny guy (who a friend of ours had actually met IRL) who lived in Florida. My response was a super-condescending “Don’t get involved in some long-distance shenanigans.”
Then we went to Whole Foods and got salads.
A week or so later he posted something that was pretty funny on Amy’s page or wall or aura or whatever we called the thing on MySpace onto which you pasted html. I added or followed or friend requested him. Then we started interacting on the social network known as MySpace.
I filled out dumb surveys; he “graded” them. We commented on each other’s pictures. It was a casual online friendship. We (along with a couple of other friends) became pen pals, because we thought it was cute and retro. On Valentine’s Day, he sent me and a couple of friends gifts. Julia got a lightsaber. Amy got something I cannot remember.
I received a cowbell.
Attached was a note that said, “I thought your Valentine’s Day could use more cowbell.”
That was the first time I called him. (I still receive a cowbell every Valentine’s Day).
I immediately noticed he had a sexy voice, and that was the beginning of the end. We talked every night for roughly three months. We texted some too, but we mostly talked. Due to the three-hour time difference, he often wouldn't get to sleep until after 3am, but he had spent his youth playing Everquest, so he was used to getting little sleep.
This relationship, my marriage, would not exist if it were not for extensive phone conversations. My relationship with Sean began as a phone-mance.
Which is why I’m kind of sad that nobody talks on the phone anymore.
When I was 11, I was “dating” a boy named Luke. This mainly consisted of talking to him on the phone every night for at least an hour while sitting in a laundry basket. Our face-to-face interaction was really awkward, but I remember our phone conversations being flirty and really witty (there is no way this is true).
I used to love hearing the phone ring. If my step-dad answered (and it was for me) I would hear “Hi. Yeah. Who is this? You should really identify yourself when calling someone else. Okay. CLAAAAAAIRE!”
And I would pick up the phone downstairs and sit in a laundry basket and gab away. I think the whole laundry basket thing was an attempt to be cute and quirky, or maybe it was just comfortable.
At some point, the ring of a phone became annoying. It seems like an attack now; it seems rude. Every time my phone rings, I swear at the audacity of someone interrupting my evening.
How quickly I have forgotten all that the phone has done for me.
Without the telephone (and, yes, MySpace and that mutual friend) I would not be married.
WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT PHONE CONVERSATIONS CAN BE IMPORTANT AND LIFE CHANGING.
But I’ll finish my story. After months of phone-mance, Sean told me he was coming to LA with his roommate to go to Coachella, and would I not mind if he stayed with me after the festival for a bit?
I said that would be “cool, yeah” and went and bought new underthings.
When I finally picked Sean up at LAX so we could go to Coachella with a group of semi-mutual friends, I was already in love with him. It was, of course, terrifying, as there was no guarantee that we would be physically attracted to each other, but something would have to have been majorly off-putting to detract from the mental and emotional attraction that had been formed.
That first day when we actually "met" went like this: I picked him up at LAX. He had flowers. We went to Fred 62. I panicked in the bathroom. I ate an omelet. We met with more friends and later had dinner at P.F. Changs.
I opened a fortune cookie. It said, “Your true love is sitting right next to you.”
I was tripping many balls. I, of course, threw it away, and didn't tell him what it said for about two years.
We went to Indio and six people stayed in a tiny two-star hotel room with two beds. We shared a bed and made out.
And then things developed into a long-distance relationship and, when I couldn't deal with the distance part anymore, I moved 3,000 miles.
And here we are.
We often talk about the weird circumstances that had to align just so for this whole thing to have happened. It’s bizarre.
But none of it would have happened without those long talks. I don't even know if it would have happened had we lived in the same town and met each other more "naturally." I think that communicating mostly by telephone (with some online chatting) accelerated the intimate nature of our relationship.
What I'm saying is, sometimes a phone call can change your life.