Seventeen Stab Wounds

On the topic of antisocial curmudgeonry….

I got my cell phone last year and most of my friends were shocked. I got it primarily so my agent could contact me wherever I might be. Because acting stuff is usually very time sensitive, I couldn’t give her my home phone number and here’s why: I stay away from it for extended periods of time. I don’t check the messages. Even when I’m at home and it rings, I often don’t answer it. Why is that, you ask? I hate phones. I hate talking on the phone. You can probably hear this in my voice when I’m talking on the phone with you – I am succinct if not curt (sure, I’m abrasive all the time, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt to detect the subtle differences). I think it’s ridiculous that people give phones such a priority in their lives – that when the phone is ringing they’ll stop whatever they’re doing – cooking, working, interrupting a conversation they’re already having with someone else – to pick it up. Phones are decidedly inconvenient more than the converse most of the time, draconian and rude.

I didn’t give out my cell phone number to others until I absolutely had to. I don’t want people calling me when I’m not home – but that’s a little unreasonable these days as I am sometimes away from home for 24 hours. I have a specific ring so that I know when my agent is calling me. Often if my phone rings any other ring I simply don’t answer it. Sometimes I don’t even look to see who called, especially when I’m at my day job or otherwise occupied. I always know when Deanna calls me, because she doesn’t. She sends me a text message and that’s why I call her Best.

So the deal is, you can call me – but don’t expect me to pick up the phone or even get back to you in a timely manner. I usually save up my messages until evening (I get a better rate then anyway) and make my call-backs then, if I remember.

The ironic thing is I check my email almost hourly. Sometimes when I see that someone has called, I’ll email them rather than call back to find out what they want (I’m looking at you, KRL). This bypasses the torment of having to wade through small talk and irrelevant tangents. Text messages are also fine, though I don’t always reply to those either unless there is a specific question that I am expected to (and can) answer.

So for future reference, barring emergency here is the Official Toren Atkinson Flow Chart of Social Interaction Annoyance:

4: Email (to either of my emails, I check them both)
3: Text message to my cell phone (if you don’t have a cell phone yourself you can go to and just type it in on a regular keyboard rather than navigating the morass of cell phone buttons)
2: Call my home phone – like the message says, if I don’t call you back in a few minutes, I’m probably not going to call you back that day.
1: In person
0: Call me on my cell phone

And now you can never claim that you didn’t know the reason I stabbed you to death was because you had the wherewithal to call me on my cell phone. After all, everyone reads my blog!

3 Replies to “Seventeen Stab Wounds”

  1. This is useful information, but unfortunately I have even more elaborate procedures for informing me about procedures to contact my friends.

    First you have to fill out form dz-015 (in triplicate! we’re not amateurs!) and wad it into a ball. Stuff it into the tanned pelt of a squirrel and lob it over the fence in my backyard with a 3′ replica trebuchet. There it will sit for several months until the next time I mow my lawn, at which point I will put it absentmindedly on the workbench in my garage. In October, when I decide to rake up the massive, festering pile of leaves blanketing the yard, I’ll notice a small, furry thing on the workbench and beat it savagely with whatever is handy (typically a rubber glove) while shrieking like an eight-year-old girl.

    The screams bring Serina running with an exasperated look on her face as if to say “this had better not be another spider”. At which point she’ll unwrap the bundle, smooth the forms and hand it to me for contemplation.

    I should mention that if DZ-015 is not filled out with a black felt tip pen I will immediately throw it away and begin organizing my shingle collection la de da la la fa la…

  2. thanks for the info, now i can text msg you from Mexico sometime.
    hugs, miss you this weekend while we are eating fish and chips, corn on the cob, etc., etc.

  3. What? In person is second to last? All this dehumanizing contact can’t be good. It’s time to take action before Toren completely embraces the digital age! The next time you see Toren in person, give him a hug. That’s right. HUG HIM. He may screw up his face in that disapprovingly funny way, but don’t worry … he can’t keep it up forever. The trick is not to let go, no matter how much he squirms. And he will! In fact, the more people that hug Toren the better. It’s harder for him to escape that way. I suggest no fewer than EIGHT people. Everybody has a secret love in this world. For Toren, it’s group hugs. Don’t let him tell you different! Oh, and bring a bicycle. He may try to ride away when he sees a coordinated hug swarm approaching. That’s merely his affectionate way of saying, “Catch me if you can!” You see, it’s really not that hard to socialize with Toren once you get to know him.

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