PHONE PHOBIA AND THE RELATIONSHIP POLITIC
Aléz Odendaal I don't like texting. I don't like calls. I don't like Whatsapps, iMessages, or Telegrams, and I really don't like DMs. One could say, as I frequently do, that I hate my phone.
Now, to be clear - very clear, because it seems like every opinion piece written on this subject gets this wrong - this is not a reflection on the person doing the texting, calling, Whatsapping etc. With two or three notable exceptions, there is no one that I personally know that I wouldn't want to bump into on the street and catch up with, or get to know a bit better.
I love people. They bring meaning to my life in a way that a god figure never has. I've also been especially blessed with my family and friends, all of whom have fifty-fold as many good traits than bad, and who have always treated me with more patience than I deserve. Nonetheless, I hate hearing from them through my phone.
It doesn't matter what the message says, what time of day it is, or who it's from - replying is always a chore. I hate it.
Crucially, I also hate that I hate it. Life would be much easier if I didn't. People would like me more, and the relationships I have would be a lot easier to maintain. I hate that it makes people feel like I don't want to speak to them, or that I don't want them in my life.
This couldn't be farther from the truth if it was whatever the fuck Trump said today. I dream of having an open house where friends know they can drop by at any time, eat out my fridge, and flick through some magazines while I finish my farming in Horizon Zero Dawn.
But that's an unrealistic utopia in a present where everyone has their own lives and their own needs to work, exercise, visit family, spend time with significant others, raise children, have a hobby, participate in politics, question modern romantic relationships, be well-read, consume pop culture, fucking meditate, and find a way to cook a meal that doesn't include a processed food.
Instead of living the teenage dream of idly passing an afternoon together, we're dropping each other messages that sum up the bulk of our current feelings and experiences in between what feels like free-falling à la Alice descending into Wonderland. It's exhausting. I was warned about adulthood, but I don't think adulthood in 2018 was anything anyone saw coming.
I can't tell you why I'm like this. Any Google search leads me down articles like '10 Reasons Why the Person Who Isn't Replying to You is Actually SATAN' or Reddit threads that ask, 'People who don't text back - what's your deal?' The only thing I can think of is that it's a kind of phone phobia, but none of the reasons given for having a phone phobia resonate with me.
Can't I just be like Adam in Girls or Mickey in Love and just be bad with phones? Can't that just be an endearing trait that I have, or do I need to be at least a million times more interesting first? If I don't find a solution, I think one day soon I might make good on my promise to take a vow of silence and move to South Korea to live with Jeong Kwan (like she'd even have me, jk, she would - she's a babe).
In the mean-time, if I owe you a text - I'm sorry. You are wonderful, you are smart, and you are important. But you're also asking me to do something I hate. When's the last time I asked you to do the same?