Recently, the subject of Skype has cropped up in my life for various reasons.
Now I have Skype installed here, and in fact have two versions as there is the old Linuxy one and a new browser one they are testing. The fact is though that I dislike it, and am very reluctant to use it.
Why, you may ask?
Well, you see, I have a dislike of telephones. I just like to see who I am talking to so I can see them pull faces and make rude gestures, and it’s difficult to judge people’s reactions when you have to rely on sound alone.
But, you say, Skype includes video.
Well, yes it does, but that introduces another problem. When talking to someone on Skype there is a compulsion to stare at them staring back at me, and that makes me uncomfortable. It’s a bit like being in a lift where everyone is compelled to stare at the numbers flickering over the door, except with Skype everyone has to stare at the screen. I don’t like staring, though I am somewhat used to being stared at, mostly by kids for some reason.
Now you will all be absolutely astounded to hear that I am an extremely quiet individual. I like silence, and if I am in someone’s company, I like companionable silence. The only person with whom I can have a decent Skype call with is my next-door neighbour who lives in the States. He is like myself – a silent chap. So every so often, we call each other up and then sit staring quietly at each other for half an hour before disconnecting again. The perfect conversation.
Many years ago I used to be involved in a podcast thingy. It was a complicated affair as the participants lived in different timezones as diverse as Ireland, the States and Australia. It was done on Skype but using sound only, which had the great advantage that I could let everyone else rabbit away and they would forget I was even there. The only problem was that if I did have something to contribute, I lacked the visual clues as to when the current speaker was going to shut the fuck up, so I invariably interrupted them in mid flow, thinking they had finished.
I suppose the bottom line is that I like to communicate in silence. I don’t talk much and am somewhat better at typing even though it’s a tad slower. I sometimes think that my head is divided into a speaking part and a typing part, and it’s the typing part that gushes forth like someone with projectile diarrhoea, while the speaking part watches silently in intrigued fascination.
So there you have it. I do have a Skype account but there is fuck all point in calling me unless you are the utterly silent type who has little to say.
If you did call me up, I would probably switch off the camera and microphone.
Or even more likely – I’d switch off the laptop.