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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)

TITLE: Telephobia
By Francy Judge


I have a confession to make: if you call me, I might not answer. Don’t take it personally. Blame it on this condition I’m sure I’d be diagnosed with… if I had the nerve to call my doctor. Telephobia, not the fear of television, but the fear of telephones. Most females love phones: toddlers imitate their mothers who smile and say “Uh huh…really…you’re right…I know…; teenagers hang on each other’s words: “So, what did he say about me?” Mothers chat for an hour while cooking dinner, helping with kids’ homework, and cleaning the house; Women wearing tight blue-white curls share the latest gossip. They love to hear the phone ring, calling them to converse. Not me.

As a teenager, when the phone would ring, I’d begin my own sign language dance for “Say I’m not here!”

Mom would comply and make an excuse, but her tilted frown and wagging finger assured me I’d have to listen to her ‘honesty’ speech.

She’d gently swipe the bangs off my forehead and hold my chin to keep eye contact. “You know how I hate lying. Just be honest and tell your friends why you can’t talk that long.”

“Sure, Mom…I’ll try that next time.” No way.

She may have been right, but what teenage girl wants to admit to her friends that she hates the phone and hates to chat and fears conversation blunders—the “what ifs”… What if I say something stupid and some dim-witted comment spills out, unable to be revoked? What if I can’t think of anything to say? What if dead silence hangs in our ears? Should I just say, “Okay, bye?”

Then I discovered the joy of writing; I could ramble, stutter, shout my thoughts without anyone hearing my mistakes. I could edit my written words.

I grew up, but still dreaded the ring a ling ling that would interrupt my day. My husband never lets me forget the excuse I gave him back in our dating days. He could talk all night on the phone; I had my limit, even though I did enjoy his sense of humor. After thirty minutes of my ear warming the phone, I told him: “Sorry, I have to go…the milk’s getting sour.”

He didn’t call me for a week.

I tried to explain that I had just gone shopping (back then my phone had a short cord and wouldn’t allow me to stretch to the refrigerator), but he saw through my excuse. I had to get more creative with better reasons to hang up the phone.

If you call me, I may let it ring and pretend I didn’t hear, but I will answer the work phone. You see…I never did have to call a doctor to prescribe medication for telephobia. God had a solution…he gave me a job as a receptionist. Now I’m on the phone at least four hours a day. I say, “Hello, how may I help you?” I never tell anyone the milk is getting sour.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 11/25/10
I just about fell off my chair laughing at this: “Sorry, I have to go…the milk’s getting sour.”I'll have to remember that one! Nicely done.
Noel Mitaxa 11/28/10
Doesn't God have a great sense of humor? Loved the self-deprecating touch in this entry. Excellent work.
Caitlyn Meissner12/01/10
Sounds a lot like my life. You described the MC's feelings really well. And I enjoyed the ending. Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/02/10
Congratulations on placing 10th in level 4.