Now that the phones have stopped ringing.


‘Today, the 17th of May, I will begin phoning one of my 365 facebook friends a day for 365 days.’ That’s what I said I would do. I managed it until about number 30 and then realised that I would have to slow the pace. My audience has been very understanding, no one has hauled me over the coals. I explained that phoning a friend whom you haven’t spoken to in ages was more emotional than I could have ever imagined and now I want to savour every phone call, every friend and every page.

What led me to challenge myself to do this is that no one phones anyone anymore. It’s more of a lonely life we lead as we keep up with each other’s news via short broadcasts and texts on screenery. The human voice reverberating around the kitchen via a landline has fallen silent. I was a guest on Saturday Live, BBC Radio 4, speaking about this; we are about to hang up on a most important and intimate form of communication.

I grew up in a house where the phone rang all day, and in the night too. The only way to stop the constant ‘bring bring’ was to take it off the hook completely but then the police would phone our neighbours to tell them to run around and warn us that the phone was off the hook as no one could get hold of my Dad, the doctor.

In that house, my high chair was directly under the phone on the wall and ‘Hello’ was my first word. I think that more than qualifies me to write a blog about humans feeding each other news and comments without speaking. Why don’t we say ‘Hello’ down a phone line anymore and what effect does it have when we do? I’ll let you know the results in about three years.

It would have been my Dad’s 78th birthday today and in a way this is a memorial to him. He loved his patients and he loved his computer but all he ever wanted to do was unplug the phone. He was born too soon!

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