Smartphones are the most important accessories in our lives, good for doing just about anything—except actually calling people, writes Pamela Paul in the New York Times. In fact, phone use in general is way down over the past five years, reports Paul, so much so that when her phone rings and it isn't her mom or a couple of close friends, her first thought is to panic. “'What’s happened? What’s wrong?,'" she says. "My second thought is: 'Isn’t it weird to just call like that? Out of the blue? With no emailed warning?'"
“I literally never use the phone,” an interior designer tells Paul. "I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, ‘Don’t call anyone after 10pm. Now the rule is, ‘Don’t call anyone. Ever.’ ” One woman says that her landline has become "a kind of vestigial part of my house like the intercom buttons once used in my prewar building to contact the ‘servants quarters.’ ” Even Miss Manners agrees that phone calls are rude and intrusive. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” said Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners). “The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.”