Tuesday, March 19, 2013

the telephone and how to be awol without guilt

The phone rang today while I was catching up on my reading. At first, I felt terribly guilty for ignoring it and silencing the ringer. You wouldn't think I was still -- after all this time -- capable of being yanked about by other people's expectations, but I am.  Long ago, I was rather proud of my ability to ignore the phone -- much to annoyance of some who expected me to be available and at their beck and call, day or night.

What kind of tyranny do we allow ourselves to submit to? That's it, exactly. Despite answering machines, messaging abilities, etc., we still feel compelled to answer the phone, no matter how important the task we might be involved in, or how dangerous answering the phone might be in that precise moment.

Don't believe me? Maybe you don't feel it, but I've been left feeling enormously guilty when I choose to ignore the phone in the midst of popping up a batch of stove-top popcorn, no matter how hazardous interrupting that activity might be (and not for the reason of the mere satisfaction of my popcorn addiction, obviously.)

For many reasons -- not the least of which being the importance of fragrant, fresh-out-of-the-pot stove-top popcorn -- one shouldn't try to pop a batch of stove-top popcorn if there is a chance of being interrupted! It's a safety concern of course. And, besides, it doesn't take long, a few minutes at most! So, is it unreasonable to be unavailable for 5 minutes?

I'm sorry if this is a rant, but it's my perhaps over the top reaction to my unhealthy need to be nice.

So, I realized today that my reading is my work. Many work-places actively discourage personal phone calls to and from their employees while at work. So, why should I be any different in my own work-place, ie my home if it is, for all intents and purposes, my work-place!

Not everybody finds this balancing act as difficult as I do, of course. But I realized and I am again re-iterating my right to claim my time as my own and I can always check the messages left and deal with them later, when I am not working!

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