Talking On The Telephone: A Brief Social History

I was thisclose to writing a how to about talking on the telephone (which, let’s face it, would’ve been so boring) when I stumbled upon this hilarious relic from the Paleozoic Era. Watching two middle school girls (one of whom sounds like she’s taken a bar of Xanax) give us a crash course on phone etiquette is not only the funniest thing since Bridesmaids, but it’s also a haunting reminder of how we spent our youth.

I don’t know about you, but I spent the ages from 11 to 15 in what can only be described as a telephone K-hole. Since no one had a license to drive, my friends and I would be forced to dial our way to freedom. From the moment we arrived home from school until we had to eat dinner, we would just talk, talk, and then talk some more. I’m not really sure what we talked about exactly but I have a feeling it went something like this:

Friend: Hello?
Me: Hey. What are you doing?
Friend: Nothing. Just got home from school. You?
Me: Nothing.

TWO HOURS PASS

Me: What are you doing now?
Friend: I’m watching an episode of Boy Meets World. Turn it on.
Me: What channel?
Friend: Five.
Me: Okay.

We would then proceed to watch three episodes of television together. There would be minimal talking except for the commercial breaks. After we exhausted our television resources, we would go back to our respective rooms and decide to listen to Enema Of The State at the same time. Our parents would interrupt us for something and we would give horrified expressions and scream, “FIVE MORE MINUTES, MOM! WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO TRACK 11!” Oh, we would also talk a lot of shit on everyone in our class. Sometimes we would do that thing they did in Mean Girls and secretly three-way call someone and be like, “So what do you really think of so-and-so?” and of course the person would respond with something evil because 13-year-olds are giant assholes. When you would get off the phone with this person, your friend would just be sobbing and all you could really say was “I’m sorry?” Today, I would be terrified to know if people were talking crap about me.

Everything happened on the telephone. It was a middle school version of a rager. Not being invited to a phone call could be the biggest diss ever. “Oh you didn’t talk to Stephanie last night? I did. For four hours.” Burn.

It’s weird to think about how everyone today can’t even deal with a two minute phone call. All of a sudden an in-depth conversation on the telephone gives someone terrible anxiety. It’s like, hello? I know you were in middle school once. You can do it. It really pisses me off when people are texting you and you’ll just call them to speed the whole thing up and they won’t pick up. And it’s not like they’re at work or whatever. They just won’t pick up the damn phone. Thanks technology yet again for turning us into complete freaks.

So listen, everyone needs to take advice from these two white girl tween rappers about how to be cool on the phone. Trust me. You can use it. (Just fast forward over the part where the blonde girl starts hallucinating. That’s just weird.) Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – r.plenty.

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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