On Not Answering the Telephone by W.Plomer

Published: 2020-05-15 17:36:03
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William Plomer has written a fine article on not answering the telephone, in which he discusses the impact of telephone, typewriter and car on his mind. He used them reluctantly and was eager to avoid them as much as possible. When he often said he was not available on the telephone, people said it was inconvenient, unbelievable and foolish and called him mad. Plomer does not think that phone is essential because he can eat, breathe, sleep and play without it. It creates unnecessary anxiety, suspense and delay and is a pest and time-waster.
Public Telephone Booths are unventilated and smoky and people curse you on your back for taking too much time to finish speaking. It is a nuisance since it rings while you are eating, sleeping or bathing. All telephone numbers are wrong numbers since they ring idiotically in a house’s privacy. Whatever news is there would reach you anyway, even without a telephone. Good news has begun to seem to be travelling just as fast as ill news. Truth will out anyway. Saying Hallo to a stranger on the line is unbearable to an Englishman.
Printing names on the telephone directory invites strangers and criminals to engage you in conversation. One needn’t own a telephone to do so since telephone calls can be made from anywhere. Once a well-known actor said that if he was left alone to live on a desert island and allowed to take just one luxury, he would take the telephone with him, for he would be happy that it would never ring in the desert and he would not have to answer it. In spite of it’s usefulness, dislike of telephone is a universal thing.
Closing his article, William Plomer humorously says that his business with the use of words is about to stop as he is wanted on the telephone. Plomer dislikes not only telephones, but typewriters and cars also. Typewriters ring at the end of each line. He is not mechanical-minded and does not like cleaning, oiling and mending them. Though he can type well, he enjoys the act of forming letters and words with a pen. Plomer learned to drive at the age of Seventeen in South Africa. He often drove very fast and soon the speedometer of his car was broken.
Rock, mud and sand did not prevent him from driving carefully. He never injured or killed anyone. But heavy traffic and the innumerable rules and regulations to be obeyed made him bored. Though he condemns telephones, typewriters ans cars, Plomer says that he is not an escapist, crank or a simple- lifer who is trying to put the clock of modernity back. He just wishes not to be dominated by machines and avoids them wherever possible. He hates machines and the machines him. When he touches them, they tend to break down, catch fire or blow up.

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