“Why don’t you ever call me?” It’s a question I hear from just about all of my friends at one point or another. My usual answer consists of, “I don’t really like talking on the phone.”
Tonight I was given cause to really put a better description to it. See, here’s the problem: While my hearing is rather sensitive in the upper registers (sometimes annoyingly so, as when a CRT is out of tune) it’s rather weak in the middle ranges… right where human voices tend to be. This makes it difficult to follow a conversation in a place with more than a minimum of ambient noise, for instance. It also means that listening to someone on the phone is an exercise in frustration. The available bandwidth on a telephone is fairly narrow, generally meant solely for the middle ranges where human speech is best transferred. Add to that the generally poor state of audio reproductive equipment (okay, that’s a fancy way of saying “the speakers in the phones”) and I tend to be at a loss during most conversations carried out by phone.
What I tend to forget is that most normal people actually like talking with other people, and when it’s not possible to do so in person then the phone is the best alternative. This point has been made rather directly tonight, and I need to adjust my habits accordingly.
Yay, gotta love a challenge. It’s for the best, really, but still… it’s not going to be easy. I hate asking people to repeat what they just said as if I wasn’t paying attention. I weary of concentrating so fiercely on just being able to make out the words that I can’t really comprehend the meaning until I’ve had a chance to replay the words in my head.
But if I’m going to be a better friend, especially to those people I don’t get to see very often, I need to get the hell over this. My true friends won’t mind if I have to ask them to repeat themselves every so often. Nobody else really matters… not enough for me to call them on the phone, anyway. (Heh.)
And, yes, this is why I’m almost useless as a conversationalist at parties or loud restaurants. I spend a lot of time just smiling and nodding, because I lack the nerve to ask “huh?” every couple of minutes. Le sigh, le double sigh.
Mind you, this probably explains why I learn so well from contextual clues. I’ve probably spent my whole life piecing together incomplete statements and turning them into information. Food for thought, that…