We, here in this house, are not very good Americans, I fear. We have a quirk - an oddity - a little bent, you might say. It feels like I'm confessing something very, very bad here, but it is the truth. Okay, I'll just say it.
We are not good consumers.
We do buy stuff ... just not for the sake of buying stuff. We buy books, but usually they're not new. We buy electronics - after a lot of research. And a coffee maker and coffee grinder (more research) have recently joined our kitchen, along with the most recent purchase - an electric tea kettle. (Now we need to buy some more counter space because the top of the dishwasher isn't quite adequate anymore.)
And we do sometimes buy medicines. But we do not have any regularly purchased (aka, "maintenance") drugs in this house. Until now.
Now we have a woman person (that would be me) who needs a regular prescription of bio-identical hormones, and today I made my first refill phone call.
And I did not speak to a soul.
I pressed buttons instead, for the input of data into a machine.
This was, to my mind, a distinctly creepy experience, but I'm not going to rant about the problems when anyone without a vocation for it gets into the businesses of religion, education, or medicine, or when, worse, we have machines do that sort of work. I'm still trying to get the words right for that particular topic. No, today it's the creepiness of talking on my phone in the privacy of my own home (which is bad enough, as far as I'm concerned), but not to a person ... to a machine!
I routinely hang up on computer generated calls, and lately, after I say hello, it's not the clicks and silences of a computer trying to tell a person I picked up the danged thing. It's a recorded voice! There are actually computers making calls and then not bothering to hook up my phone to a real person, but instead are hooking up my phone to a recording!
And is that recorded voice telling me anything at all that I care to hear? Nope. Not ever. Not even one time. The recorded voice is actually trying to make a sale!!! (Am I takin' crazy pills here? Is that not completely nuts?) I'm so desperate to buy something that I'd buy it from a recording on my phone?
The phone call to the pharmacy brought me the words, "without talking to a soul." And then I heard myself. "A soul." That's why I hang up on recordings or calls obviously dialed by a computer. If I'm going to talk, it has to be me - my soul - talking to another human - another soul.
Talking out loud to myself counts, by the way. Holding long conversations with imaginary people, or holding court with my reflection in a mirror - that counts. That's just a way for me - my soul - to commune with itself. If it's good enough for the Psalmists and every other woman in my bloodline who ever cooked or sewed or thought of the perfect thing to say long after the opportunity had passed, it's good enough for me. I'm allowed to talk to me.
And I'm allowed to talk to you. Writing and reading - that's from one soul to another as well.
But if you want to communicate with me over the phone, please bring your soul to the conversation. I'll know if you don't. I have caller I.D.