When I was in junior high school, my friends and I would be on our (then cool) cordless phones for countless hours. I have absolutely no idea how we could talk for so long, or what we even talked about!
All I know is that, sometimes, I would almost pee my pants from laughing so hard during these phone calls. I remember one of my friends calling a boy to ask him out to some dance, and then frantically calling me back to tell me that he said yes.  I also vividly remember abruptly hanging up and hiding the phone under the pillows, when our parents walked into the room, as we should have been fast asleep. We would later be yelled at by them when that outrageous phone bill came up - for which I obviously did not take any blame. I couldn’t possibly be on the phone for that long...could I?
This leads me to my next question.
What Ever Happened to the good old phone call? Why don’t we just call people anymore? Did we forget how to dial a number and simply say "hello, how are you"?
Why do I find myself juggling between Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Blue Jeans, FaceTime, and back to Microsoft Teams? Wait, did a coworker just video call me on WhatsApp?
“Can you please just call me?” was the subject line of the empty email I had just sent. Felt just like text. I sent that email after having wasted another precious ten minutes of my life, on yet another platform where we could see each other, BUT not hear each other. You know that "call" in which you stare at each other, mouthing back and forth while using various hand gestures. 
So why can’t we just call each other instead?
I keep reading about the comeback of audio, as apparently voice technology has seen a resurgence during this pandemic.  I can testify to that just by taking a glimpse into my own habits - I now much rather prefer yelling at Alexa to play me some Beyoncé (Queen Bey always helps me get through the day), rather than endlessly scrolling down my Youtube page, looking for the song that hits the spot.  Podcasts and audiobooks are also on the rise. I am all for folding my laundry or going for a walk while listening to Michelle Obama's memoir, who isn't? If orange is the new black, then audio is the new video.  If video once killed radio, then radio was resurrected and is here to claim her rightful place in our world. You can see where I am going with this...
It appears to be that we seem to think that the only to stay connected, is if we have the ability to SEE each other. By that, I mean to see each other’s eyes, watch each other’s facial expressions, and then get distracted and peer into each other homes (wait, is that a real background?) 
In a world where we are constantly overwhelmed with visual stimuli, media headlines, Instagram stories, and the latest Netflix series, we must stop for a moment and just listen to the sound of each other’s voices. Listen, speak, and stay present.  That’s one crucial way to continue to build, rebuild, and sustain our connections during this pandemic.
So, unless we know each other quite well, or if I specifically said “Hey, let’s FaceTime”, you are not allowed to abruptly FaceTime me...unless you want to see me in the worst messy bun you could possibly imagine, making mac and cheese muffins, all while finishing a last-minute deck my boss demanded.
If you want to connect, I would be more than happy to chat. Please, just call me. I’ll even give you my phone number. We can connect, and I promise I will be 100% present. I will not be wondering if that’s a cathedral ceiling I am seeing in your room. I will not be admiring your exposed vintage brick. Instead, I will be listening to your voice.


Mita Mallick