Back in the days before mobiles, texts and such like, nearly as far back as 2 channels and black and white TV, I was raised to believe that phoning someone after say 9pm or before about 8am was intrusive and rude. Worse, it typically signified bad news: the death of or critical injury to someone close.
I know that if I get a call out of those “normal” hours, I get quite anxious, fearing the worst. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it feels quite stressful until I answer the call.
When staying in hotels, I’m always surprised when I hear phones going off in other rooms at all hours of the night. Does it mean that the participants are on different sides of the world? Or insomniacs? Or just need very little sleep? The fact that I hear the phone ringing is enough to wake me and disturb my sleep, which is rude enough.
Whenever I’m away from home Dee and I talk regularly, but are very cognisant of the time difference. We speak and message just after we’re both awake, and just before we go to sleep, as well as at other times when we know we’re both awake. We have two clocks in the house, one showing UK time and one for the time zone wherever I am. That way we can maintain as normal a conversation and dialogue as possible, without disrupting sleep. It’s one way that we stay connected, that we maintain our close relationship, that we stay together. Services like Skype and FaceTime also help with staying close, which has to be a good thing, right?
Just because the world is an increasingly connected place, does that mean people should call whenever they feel like it, irrespective of time? Isn’t some down time, away from technology, a good thing, a desirable thing? If there was some way of setting your phone to not receive or make calls between certain hours, would that be a useful feature?
I’m guilty of spending too much time with technology too sometimes, sitting with a really good book in one hand but distracted by the glowing screen of my phone in the other. I need to physically say to myself “put the phone down and read your book” but the temptations and distractions are huge.
Maybe I’m getting older, and losing touch with how these barriers have shifted. If that’s the case, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to convince me that removing the social norm around phone calls is a good thing.