Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Phone Fury

For about five months now I’ve noticed that Chuck exhibits a certain distaste for the telephone primarily by dropping whatever he’s chewing on, cowering and promptly leaving the room whenever the phone rings. At first I thought it was funny, like ha, ha, my dog is afraid of the phone, isn’t that cute?

But I haven’t been able to figure out why he can’t stand to stay in the room while I’m talking on the phone. For a while I thought maybe he’d been beaten in the first four weeks of his life with a telephone receiver, but that doesn’t explain why he responds to the sound.

And then yesterday in a brief moment of uncharacteristic insight I finally figured out what was wrong with my dog: Chuck doesn’t understand that I’m talking to someone else when I’m talking on the phone, and not unlike my mother and my very Southern and flashy sister, I have a tendency to speak VERY LOUDLY when I’m talking on the phone. I don’t know why I do this, I think it’s the same reason people talk loudly when they’re wearing headphones; we think other people can’t hear us over the music, and so we compensate by yelling. I tend to think that the physical distance between me and the person at the other end of the line requires me to up my volume by about 600%, otherwise how is someone in Memphis going to hear me when I’m all the way over in Utah?

I also tend to slip unconsciously into my southern accent while talking on the telephone, and this is the only time that happens other than when I’m angry or drunk on tequila.

So whenever my dog hears the phone ring, he’s like, OHMIGOD, THIS WOMAN IS DRUNK AND ANGRY AGAIN, IT’S TIME TO TAKE COVER.

  • Vee

    I too tend to talk a little louder when I’m on the phone, for different reasons. 1. I never seem to be able to hear the person on the other end, so I feel like if I talk louder so will they and 2. For some strange reason, my Korean Mother gets extremely loud when talking to her Korean friends in their native language. So that is one of her habits that I happened to pick up.

  • Hank

    Well, I’m in the dark. You’re gonna have to recap your southern heritage. Here I’ve been thinking you started life in Utah. Silly me.

  • I can’t post comments on the one about the girl who wrote snotty remarks after reading the NY Times but…I bet she’s just jealous. Heather’s way cute. And I’m not even gay. Just punk as hell.

  • It could be worse… at least it’s not a child hiding from your accent and drunkeness.

  • Hank? Where have you been? Check out the archives.

  • so that pavlov guy was right after all.

  • My dog does the same thing. The exact same thing. Maybe he should call Chuck?

  • southern_m

    my boyfriend talks at a super high volume when on the phone as well. he also speaks at that same volume while in bed next to me with his mouth next to my ear. can someone please explain that reasoning to me?? i think he took out my right eardrum the other night. and he wasn’t even drunk. and we don’t have a dog. i’m the one with the southern accent. and my cat watches tv, poops in the livingroom floor when she’s mad, and is always stealing water out of my water glass. did i hit all the topics? no wait…a cool word… oh yea, “ustulate.” it means “to burn.”

  • My mother read somewhere that if you put a few pennies in an empty soda can and tape over the top, you can discipline your dog by shaking it at him. My mother did this with an empty can of Budweiser, so now whenever my dad drinks beer, little Zacky runs for cover. (NO, MY DAD IS NOT AN ALCOHOLIC DOMESTIC ABUSER.)

  • southern_m

    maybe i should keep a can like that by the bed.

  • shifty

    can i come over to your house for some mashed potatoes? i’ll bring you some more butter milk and cream. please?

  • I would be *so* happy if my kids would run and hide when I’m on the phone. One of the freedoms you lose when you become a parent is being able to have a peacefule telephone conversation.

  • shy

    if you talk on the phone really loudly, does the person at the recieving end complain about the increase in volume? or do they just talk loudly back?

    i have the same problem. i can’t help it. and i feel bad that the person at the other end is going deaf because of me.

  • Maybe Chuck is just annoyed because you aren’t using 10-10-220.

    Oh and Some Guy, enthused IS a word (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=enthused).

  • southern_m

    “kitchen midden”: a small pile (as od seeds, bones, or leaves) gathered by a rodent.

    ok, yea–bored at work and cruising the dictionary. dictionary cruising is good. it’s better than, uh, cruising the internet. or something. perhaps. i dunno.

  • For some inexplicable reason, my cat Cricket is terrified of things that made whooshing-type noises. Whether they are on or not.
    Cat being naughty in the bathroom? Merely reach for the hairdryer and she will bolt. Acting up in the kitchen? Turn on the disposal, and watch her run.

  • Kate,

    Enthused or Enthusiastic?

    Enthused is nonstandard.

    Replace it with enthusiastic.

    So says http://englishplus.com/grammar/
    00000211.htm

    You can find “facts” to back up anything on the internet!

  • Kimberly

    I about peed my pants laughing at this one, I do the same thing!

  • Paul

    I bought a harmonica to learn how to play, but the cat would walk over and bite me every time I’d blow a note. It turned into a party game when guests were over.

    “Honey, play us a tune on your harmonica.”

    …R-r-right.

    Also, my dog India is afraid of the dishwasher door. Runs like hell whenever we open it…

  • My kitten Coltrane is scared of the vacuum and pretty much any loud noise. We’ve had him since he was 5 weeks old. But a friend once commented that Phyllis, who was a street cat for at least a year and a half, was “fearless.” The vacuum cleaner doesn’t scare her at all. In fact, my boyfriend has started to vacuum her fur, using one of those attachment thingys, instead of combing her. She’ll even turn over a little so he can get her tummy.

  • as a Vermonter who spent her freshman year at a school in Rhode Island, I returned with an accent that is a weird blend of Boston, New York, and something else (one of my roommates was from Tokyo). my friends can’t understand anything I say. and not only do I talk louder while I’m on the phone, I talk with this weird accent and GESTICULATE dramatically.

  • Wimbledon Wannabee

    Reply to John Burton:
    I LOVED your college / “leper colony” analogy. Too true!
    I went to a Presbyterian College, where they teach born-again Christian dogma. (And I’m not even Presbyterian.) After a while, you DO get that “don’t fit-in feeling”, no matter how stilted their dogma may be. The rigid top-brass at my college haven’t changed their minds (on any issue) since the Carter administration. And they haven’t accepted any fresh, new ideas since the Ford administration.

    A diploma is not a passport, but getting a decent-paying job is usually much harder without a diploma.

    Dooce: I already had the utmost respect for you as a writer (and as a person truly in touch with reality, in so many ways). But I now also have respect for you as an interviewee. Somehow you were able to land your first HTML job without any prior HTML work-experience, nor any college credit for that code. I doff my chapeau! You must have given one hell of a persuasive sales-pitch, at that first interview. (Or perhaps you personally knew someone at the company. As the saying goes: “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.”) Barring that possibility, you must have made one hell of a good impression at the interview.

  • Carla Beth

    Gosh, if my cats could tolerate being vacuumed I’d be in HOG (cat!) heaven. Especially if it could vacuum out fleas and other wee-critters that habitate their fur. :o)

  • BldrCath

    Re vacuuming animals, it works with dogs too. I have a hand-held vacuum that my dog loves. It’s a wonderful massage! Chuck might like it.

    Doesn’t help all that much with the fur problem though. It’s still everywhere.

  • LuckyPenny

    I was going to post something else, but your blurb about someone being “disorientated” (and telling you so) somehow ‘annoying’ you, annoyed me –to the point of leaving the room like a dog running from its owner on the phone.

  • and the only thing worse than sushi burps are sushi farts.

  • That is way more traumatic but less annoying than my dog’s tendency to get jealous of the telephone and try to eat it and/or hump it while one is talking. There is a pet psychic for hire in Salt Lake; you could bring her in to console Chuck and explain the situation.

  • Some Guy

    Kate, read that entry and you’ll see that it isn’t accepted as proper usage. In other words (heh), it’s not a word.

  • Carla Beth

    Have you ever noticed how dogs dry hump while looking you straight in the eye? Hump is another favorite word of mine but WHAT the tomatoe that has to do with my senior thesis that is due in EXACTLY twenty-one hours and fifteen minutes I don’t know.

  • Anja

    Spin ’em to the west. Great! The fact that I don’t live in an English-speaking country and so won’t be able to do that to people is breaking my heart already. Maybe I should just visit the States. On the other hand, people might be offended by a non-native speaker trying to correct their language…