Thursday, October 15, 2009

Technology, Telemarketers, and Time for Quiet...

I am so much like that cartoon.  Anything remotely connected to technology is so irresistible to me.  That's just the way my brothers and I are and surprisingly my 73 year old mother too.  She had bought herself a cell phone (camera phone) and operated it perfectly, never having used anything like that in her life and never even reading the manual.  I also like to figure out how things work and play with tools.

I am also a night person, so I have trouble shutting everything off and settling down for the evening.  I have to use every force in my body to steer myself to my bed and stay in it.  It's just that my mind is used to going a million miles an hour while my body lags behind.  Recently, I made myself a promise that I would START to turn things off at 9pm and have some quiet time. HA; NO!!!

Plus my house duties here at my parents' house of receptionist/information desk/appointment maker/white and yellow pages/google directory/chef/transportation coordinator/financial advisor/banker/grocery shopper...and I forgot GPS.  When one brother calls, I actually answer it, "Hello, reception?" and when the other brother calls from the road, I look up google or mapquest info for him.  See, my multi-tasking, organizational, and phone duties from my 15 years in the career world does count for something!

And then there are telemarketers, which account for maybe 30% of the 20 calls a day we seem to get here.  Although they are a great anonymous cover so that I don't always have to be nice sweet Maria, they are so frustrating as you all know.  The caller id's could show cell number, unknown, private, or the old 1-800 number at any time of night or day, and no respect for what you are going through in life.  Hello!!!??? I have nothing better to do than answer you during all the other calls from hospital, care home, doctor, eye specialist, arthritis specialist, furnace repair (cuz our heat doesn't work), bank, family, friends.  (The last two I always look forward to though.)

I have it downpat like a fine art.  When they say "Hello, Can I talk to __________ (my parents)?"  I say right away, "No, I am handling the calls; what company are you calling from?"  Sometimes they actually tell me and I can barely understand what they are saying or they could be insistant and won't.  Doesn't stop me whatsoever.  I say, "Sorry, we are not interested, goodbye" and hang up on them (nicely if that is possible).  If they're rude, talk over me, or get snotty as if they are the most important person I will talk to that day, I am extra pleasant and add, "Please don't call here ever again" before I hang up.  It works.

Although I do thrive in these environments in a strange way, yes, you could say I really miss my quiet time.  Quietness is the only way we can really hear God better and ourselves.  If we're always around work, technology, or things every single minute of the day, sooner or later we will stop even noticing the things that are truly important in life.  We will overlook human beings because we are just too busy.  Too busy for ourselves, too busy to help others that need us, and too busy to connect to God, who is in the middle of it all.  It is as if the huge loud noises of life drown out the little still small voices of our God inside us.  There were so many inspirations and ideas and encouragement that came to me when I was quiet and not doing anything at all and not even when I was expecting it.  When I really needed it badly.

I remember one year in the middle of Lent, our computer crashed and I was without it for about a week while it was being fixed.  Oh my gosh, are you kidding?  I just sat in my computer chair wondering what I was going to do next and wandering about the house aimlessly.  That is pretty sad, but I know 99% of you reading this would feel the same way, even if you just use a computer for Facebook?

Really, I just need to take more time to smell the roses.  Or in my case, time away from telemarketers.

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