Mid-Pandemic, Everybody’s Doing It

Talking on the Phone is Cool Again


It was my best friend calling. Another BFF called late-afternoon. Two in one day. Then another best friend called the following day. My hairdresser even called me the other night.

Notice I’m saying “called,” not “texted” or “emailed.” They actually did what we used to do before the advent of cell phones or computers: Talk on the phone.

They called to see how I am. What am I doing? How’s work going? What are the kids up to? How is your 90-year-old mother? The conversation was a general schmooze for ten or so minutes to distract from everything we are all facing: a Coronavirus pandemic that brings us to ten-months-plus in near-lock-down-panic and more than 410,000 souls passed.

Speaking with friends in real-time is a great diversion to all of this. I am reminded of when I was 13-years old and my best friend Leslie and I walked home from school. We yakked and yakked for the thirty minutes it took to walk home, then after saying good bye and a quick after-school snack, we jumped onto the telephone (which I brought out onto the roof lest someone was listening in.) We yakked for another two hours.

No kidding. You might be thinking [and my parents actually said], “But didn’t you just see her? What could you possibly have to talk about?”

A lot. After picking up where we left off, we continued blabbing about everything … and everyone. When that conversation dried up, we branched out to more “global” topics, like The Beatles “White Album,” or the new Eau to Love perfume, or how we couldn’t wait to sunbathe (with an album covered in aluminum foil.) We were two teenagers seeking solace over the phone.

And that’s what it’s like right now. We need solace. We need connection. We need to call our friends on the phone and hear their voices.

You can talk about the issues of the day: our new president and vice-president, climate change, families separated at the border, the wildfires, how racial injustice continues to ravish our nation, and COVID-19 plagues the world. Or make it a quick call, “I’m just calling to let you know I’m thinking about you.” (Cue Stevie Wonder’s song, “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”)

Forget about texting and emailing. Go ahead. Pick up the phone. Dial that friend you’ve been meaning to touch base with forever. It’s okay. Everybody is doing it now.

Author of POUND RIDGE PAST, Stroke Survivor memoirist, HuffPost contributor, and “Bonni Brodnick Blog” -ger (bonnibrodnick.com)

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