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My wife called me at work to tell me that the phone service in our home was out.

“The Internet and cable?” I asked, panicking inside. A Friday night at home without the Internet? What would we do?

“No. Just the phone line,” she assured me.

“Oh, that’s good,” I said and meant it. In fact, I was secretly hoping that she couldn’t get it working for at least a month. I hate the house phone. Actually, I hate all telephones, but at least I can ignore my own cell phone. When the house phone rings, my wife occasionally asks me to pick it up, and rarely is it someone to whom I wish to speak.

Here’s the thing:

There’s almost never a moment in my day when I am not doing something that demands my relatively undivided attention.



Playing with my daughter.

Planning lessons for work.

Chatting with my wife.

Correcting papers.

Watching a ballgame.

Playing poker.

Contemplating existence. 

And more often than not, I’m doing two or three of these things at one time.

If there were stretches of my day when I was sitting around, doing nothing, then a phone call might be fine. But the way my life is currently structured, almost every phone call is an interruption. It’s an attempt by someone to invade my space, willow away my time, and break into my focus, concentration, or amusement in order to impose their own thoughts, needs or desires upon me.

To me, the phone is the five-year-old who is constantly tugging on his mother’s arm, demanding unnecessary attention whilst she is engaged in thoughtful, provocative conversation.

Most of the time, I just want it to go away.