My fear of answering the telephone started some time after I got married. Like a lot of people, we have to distract Peter while we are using some of his money to pay Paul. This means that we have bill collectors calling the house from time to time. I know we owe them money, but I hate talking to them when ABM isn't here because I will let the collector bully me into a payment arrangement that we can't manage. We also have our share of telemarketers calling, and I am just as powerless when it comes to saying "no" to them. Add in the relatives that I don't want to talk to, and answering the telephone becomes a scary proposition for me. We still have an old-fashioned answering machine so that we can screen our calls as they come in.
More and more lately I have been running into situations where I can't identify callers before I pick up the phone. They may hang up before the answering machine message finishes or they may call my mobile phone and I don't have the number in my contact list. For instance, I am waiting for a return call from the college about an appointment time for Wednesday and I gave my mobile phone number without thinking. This is a call I want to answer right away, but if I don't recognize the number I most likely won't pick up the phone. Then I just have to hope that the caller leaves a message on my voicemail.
As I was fretting over this a few moments ago, it occurred to me that I am sick of this. Ever since I turned 45, I've been really trying to embrace my life the way it is now and stop being so afraid of normal life situations like this one. I am a grown woman. There is no reason why I can't answer my own phone. If it is a bill collector, I'll either make a deal or tell them that I will call them back. If it is a telemarketer, I will tell them that I have no money and hang up the phone. If it is a relative, I will bite the bullet and chat for a few moments before begging off. I'm not saying that I will stop screening my calls, but if there is a time when I can't then I will pick up the phone like an adult.
Now I know why women become more sassy as they get older. I'm on the downward slope of my life and there is no time to waste over silly fears and not doing what I want!