Thank You for Five, Count ’em, Five Quality Minutes

A person will say more if you give them a limit of five minutes. It’s true!

It has come to my recent attention that the telephone is not my friend, and the cell phone is becoming my down right enemy.

I don’t know the statistics on brain tumors from cell phones but I do know that prattling on the phone can steal a person’s soul and borrow time they will never get back—right up there with television.

And can I just say—I ain’t got that much time left, even if I live another fifty years.

I have unconsciously been hangin’ out with some of my friends on the phone saying absolutely nothin’. 

One of them lives just two blocks from me and I see her almost daily.

Here’s an example of the time thief conversations:


Hi there

What’s up?

Nothin’ You?

I got nothin’

Whatcha doin’?


Me neither

It’s really cold outside , huh?


I’m still in my pajamas

Me too

I got a cup of coffee

Me too

My cat looks sooo cute right now!

Mine’s all curled up on the bed

I gotta buy groceries today

Yeah, I should too

You gotta work today?


What’s the plan?


Yeah, me neither…

Okaaaaay! That’s just painful when it’s put in writing.

Why am I spending so much time on the phone if I’ve got nothing to say?

Because I think I’m a multi-tasker and that I am spending quality time with the people I love by mumbling into a phone while I am dealing with the tasks at hand— you know, driving, doing the dishes, building the eighth wonder of the world, and disconnecting the detonator from a bomb that could wipe out the entire city in a moment—the everyday stuff.

But I am not spending quality time with my loved ones in this anxiety inducing activity. 

I am merely bleeding my life force—and theirs into a receiver that won’t give it back.


Here’s how it should go:



I still love you today but I don’t have anything to talk about.


I’m just going to do what I do every day. 


Is your cat still cute?


Okay, then shall we chat when World events dictate there is something that has altered our reality as we know it?


Okay, bye bye

Bye now.

What I realize, inspired by a genuine phone conversation with another friend, is that I am afraid to say “I don’t want to talk on the phone.”

I am afraid to say ”My time is valuable, even if I am only day dreaming or doing something deemed unimportant to others.”

I am afraid to say “ Let’s focus here. Let’s remind each other that we are thinking about one another and hang up.”

I am afraid to say “ I would rather give you my undivided attention for five minutes of conversation than to drain your soul and mine with empty cell phone minutes.”

I am afraid to not answer the phone because it might be important.



~ by leakelley on March 23, 2009.

11 Responses to “Thank You for Five, Count ’em, Five Quality Minutes”

  1. What you need is Twitter!

  2. I have always described myself as “phone phobic”. I rarely initiate phone calls but I feel physically compelled to answer every single one. I never mastered the art of screening like so many of my friends. So, for me, email and chat programs and twitter and facebook have been lifelines of connection making me feel much less guilty and not wanting to talk on the phone 🙂

    However, yesterday I took advantage of my cell phone blue tooth and a lazy Sunday and I picked up the phone and called a friend who I have not *talked* to in over a year. We yapped for 90 minutes while I dusted and did some pretty low effort straightening up around the house. That was awesome.

  3. I am trying very much these days to break bad behavior, and I probably never would have put this on my list until seeing this post. It’s like holding up a mirror. And it’s hilarious, the way you wrote the dialog, but man, it’s sad that I do this all the time, too, and all in the name of multi-tasking. Eeek. Going to stop doin’ it now, hopefully before the brain tumor has started.

  4. I have a cell phone–only–no landline. It is a prepaid one and I’m very careful about making my minutes last as long as possible. This keeps it at a very cheap level. My immediate family, close friends, and my boss are the only ones who have the number and they know to only call me if it’s absolutely necessary. Our main type of communication is by email and we use that daily for minor things like the above ‘conversation’ and it’s free (well, if you don’t count the internet fees). I hate being ‘tied’ to a phone! When I do get calls, I always use the speakerphone feature because I can’t stand to have it held up to my ear which leaves me only one hand free to do other things. 🙂

  5. I like the phone. Then again, I don’t have a lot of nothing conversations…but sometimes, I do find the silences more illuminating and meaningful and important than a bunch of babble. With far-flung friends, email can be informative, but someone’s voice is irreplaceable.

  6. meh. i got nothin’…i’m just hangin’ out in my pajamas with the kitties.

  7. yeah, me too Karma…


  8. I am so not a phone person. I think the reason is that I know if i get on that thing I’m not good at getting off of it. I’m just not good at telling people I have to go and if they aren’t either, we’re in trouble. Like all day long trouble.

  9. I love the way you make such salient points of so many daily things that we take for granted! And this is no exception! I have been guilty of this type of prattling in the name of multi-tasking.
    I am so bummed that I have been missing your posts! Evidently Bloglines has not been loading them!

  10. Ya gotta admit, LeaKel, the best-ever line for getting off the phone when ya got nuthin’ is “I gotta get off the phone. My ear’s hot.” Thanks, Karma. Lea and I have gotten a million miles outta that one.

    I love you guys.

  11. I don’t like the phone very much. I avoid it when I can and find my conversations awkward when I can’t avoid it. But I hadn’t thought about it this way, as a time thief. Thank you for giving me another good excuse to avoid the phone. 🙂

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