When I tell you that I had a paralyzing fear of telephones you will probably laugh. So let me tell you why.
When we (my mother, brother and grandmother) immigrated to the United States in 1952 I had to learn “Life” at age 16. Up to that time I had been a refugee – living on the side of the road with bombs falling, in bombed out train stations or while they were attacked during our seeking shelter or, after the war was over, in makeshift apartments. Electricity, running water, heat and other comforts that are taken for granted here were a luxury grown-ups talked about. We small children who were born during WWII considered them fairy tales. During times when we were waiting in long lines to be processed I would observe secretaries talking on desk phones. The result was always bad news for us. “Application denied, go to the back of the line, come back tomorrow, you are in the wrong place, etc.”
The telephone was the culprit, I decided.
Now we were in America and everybody had one of those black things in their house and when I heard the shrill ring I wanted to run and hide. But, of course, just like all the terrifying feelings I had developed while living on the front lines, I had to stifle them for fear of being ridiculed or, at least laughed at – at sixteen that is the worst that can happen. So I laughed and forced myself to hold the dreaded black talking enemy in my hand and tried my best to master the new language as well as the new device.
Of course, I eventually made friends with the phone – but the feelings of dread and fear were part of me and only were pushed under the surface – only to rear it’s ugly head when least expected.
Today we had to go phone shopping – I got used to the phone – now I have to deal with all the new electronic devices – ugh. Will it ever end ?