Conversation yesterday made me realize that I talk on the phone to virtually nobody. I used to say I hated having full conversations via text, but that seems to have become normal for me. I have not heard my sister’s voice in I don’t even know how many years, but we get along fine via text and email. The last phone chat I had was afew weeks ago. It was an introductory formality. Since then it’s been all text and emails.

I can put part of the blame on the phone itself, or rather the cell phone connection. It’s bad. It drops, cracks, emits random twangy sound artifacts, and generally just sucks. Making a call over a regular cell phone connection is enough to give me the shakes. When I need to make a call without these annoyances I use Skype. In a sense it’s like the old days of planning when I will make a telephone call, setting aside time and physically sitting down to do it. I only use Skype from desktop. I don’t remember why now but some account-related glitch makes using it on my cell phone device not a good idea. I’m fine with that. Skype from desktop is stable and unobtrusive. I seem to remember Skype via cell phone device being subject to the whims of the phone’s connectivity.

WhatsApp, I now remember, had solid call quality, after a few minutes of introductory static and crunchiness. It sounded like a real phone call, without all the “What?” and “Huh?” and “I only caught part of that sentence…” But you can only call other WhatsApp users, and not everyone I know is savvy about or even interested in using apps. I have not used WhatsApp since the Japanese Waif skipped town.

The phone has changed. Progress (I guess?) but with so much compromise.