I had to make an important telephone call today. That’s right. I had to make a phone call and I feel that this warrants a blog post. File under “you might be a sutterer if…”
For your average adult (or child or dog) this is Officially NBD. Possibly awkward for the introverts out there, but this generally does not rank very high on the “OMG NO” scale. When you stutter, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. You get to marinate in anxiety while the phone rings…quick! Say your name!…now explain the reason you called. You’re on the spot and you have a captive audience who can’t pick up on body language or other cues about what you’re trying to say over the phone. Sometimes the silence is so long you get a “are you there?” or worse, a hangup- which is basically confirmation that you have failed as a functioning human (at least that’s how it feels in the moment). And let’s not get started with having to recite your credit card number. Thank goodness for Dominos online.
If the answering maching picks up the instant feedback is lessened, but what if you stutter in your message? I like to imagine the other person listening to the recording with a look of confusion or maybe not understanding when I…slowly…haltingly…give my phone number. But I’m a maschocist like that.
Today, my story has a happy ending. I got through the whole call without a single block. Theme from Rocky, fireworks, parade…but that’s not always the case. I once hung up on a friend’s dad because I couldn’t get my name out. I’ve been hung up on countless times. I’ve been accused of having a bad cell connection, and I’ve been on the line with incredibly understanding customer service reps (hey AAA!). That’s the trouble with stuttering…I think Forrest Gump said it best. You really never know what you’re gonna get.
Two more things that scare the bejeezus out of a person who stutters that other people probably don’t understand:
- Going around the room and saying our name in a class/business meeting/AA group (“Did I forget my name? NO I DID NOT.”)
- Reading out loud (this one is my silver bullet, my wooden spike, my achilles heel…my other metaphor for the most terrifying social situation I can imagine)
So what do you think? Do you share the telephone phobia? What else gives you stuttering anxiety that non-stutterers wouldn’t think twice about?