People who always have twisted, curled-up, and knotted phone cords.

Apparently, there are two kinds of people in the world. One always has knotted phone-cords.

My co-worker, sitting across from me, has the exact same phone I have. But my phonecord, that spirally cord between my phone and the receiver, is always tied into a knot. Sometimes it’s so bad I even can’t lift the receiver high enough when it rings.

Hers, never. Hers phone cord always hangs down in a neat single, well organized loop.

So I asked for a replacement. The techies gave me a shiny new phone cord. A month later, the cord is a curled tangled mass again.

What causes this? Am I an unconscious phonecord twister? If that is the case, it must be so unconscious I haven’t ever caught myself doing it. The only time I touch the phonecord is when I try to untangle it.

Does my cubicle sit on a bad spot of astral Phonecord Energy? Then why is my hair fairly manageble and my lines of thinking no more twisted then other people? :slight_smile:

Do you sit across a co-worker with a tangled phonecord, why yours is neat? If so, what’s *your * theory?

Your co-worker tangles your phone cord when you are not there - it’s the only explanation.


If the phone is on my left (and I’m right-handed), I tend to pick up the receiver with my left hand, flip it over anticlockwise (left wrists don’t rotate the other way from a palm-downward orientation), then I pass the upturned receiver to my right hand and put it against my right ear.
When I hang up, I either do so directly with my right hand, flipping it over again, but again in an anticlockwise direction (because right wrists don’t rotate the other way from a palm-upward orientation), or I flip it over and pass it back to my left hand and put it down. Either way, the cord gets one rotation each time I do this.

Oddly, quite a similar thing happens when the phone is on my right - it’s the passing between hands that seems to do it.

If I had to use your phone, you’d be pleased to find the cord magically untangled afterwards.

I absolutely loathe using a phone with a crimped up cord and serving as a modern day Gordian knot. So before I start yapping, I unplug the headset from the knot and unwind. Doesn’t matter where I am or whose phone I’m using –I am the phantom untangler.

Are you left-handed? Lefties tangle phone cords just by using them.

:eek: This is just bizarre. You can untangle the cord yourself by taking the phone off the hook and holding the cord near the end where it’s attached to the main phone, letting the (damn, what’s that called?) talk-and-listen piece dangle down freely. Stand there for a minute – it will untangle itself.

This is not entirely true. A cord, once tangled, will never be as it was before. Innocence, once lost, can never be regained.

Yes, that is the case, exactly. My coworker’s phone is on her right and she’s right handed.
With Mangetouts remarks in mind, I’ve done some ergonimical miming just now and I noticed the two rotations the cord has to make. So yes, that’s it! Thanks!

That also explains elfkin477’s observation. If phones are usually put on the righthand side of a desk, and if most people are right handed, it will be only the lefthanded people who curl up phone cords.

This now solved mysterycase of “unnoticed physics in ergonomy” reminds me of the canoe-trip on a lake, years ago. Me and my friend sat in the same canoe and we both had paddles with just one paddle.
My friend, who sat in the front of the canoe, asked me to paddle harder. She thought my arms were just baby weak or something, because I was paddling for dear life but still we drifted off.
Apparently, (I’m still not sure of the physics of it all) the one who paddles in front, determines the direction.

True. Some kind of kinks and bends get in and can’t be removed by hand anymore, and once those are in, the cord tangles even faster.

They sell an adapter for your phone cord that will prevent tangled phone lines for ever. I have one on my phone. All you do is unplug the cord from the receiver, plug in the swivel adapter into the receiver and then plug the cord into the adapter. Even when you are talking on the phone the swiveling doesn’t break up your voice. And you will never had a tangled up cord again. I have one at home on a long 4’ cord and it just hangs straight down, no matter how much walking around and turning you do.

I don’t remember where I got them but I would think Circuit City would have them.

[QUOTE=Madd Maxx]
They sell an adapter for your phone cord that will prevent tangled phone lines for ever./QUOTE]

Your mileage may truly vary with these; I’ve tried them and they had no appreciable effect on the tangling and were more an annoyance than anything else. Unplugging the cord periodically worked much better.

You have a new cord, every once in a while look down at the phone. If the coil is laying like a garden hose, it’s not tangled, leave it alone. If the coil is spiraled up like a twist tie, you’re on your way to a tangle, pick up the receiver and rotate it until the spiral is gone. If you let it continue, it will become permanently misshapen.

Do not dangle the receiver, when you put stress on the cord like that the receiver will not rotate to a neutral position and you’ll put it right back down in a coiled position.
ETA: forget the last paragraph, I just did a test and it does seem to put the phone back in a neutral position. Dangle away! That’s what I get for relying on my memory of office-mates past.

If you regularly untangle your cord, it won’t develop permanent kinks. I think that only happens if you let it get twisted into a tiny mess of knots. I have a very long cord, too, and it’s flat and smooth because I untangle it when it starts getting bumpy.

Worse than tangly phones is phones whose owners never clean the earpiece or keypad :x

What are phone cords? Ah, yes, now I remember them!

Seriously, though, I always had problems with tangles on spiral cords, and I’m right-handed. Nowadays I only use cordless phones - but then again, I don’t work in an office or any other environment where I don’t get to pick the phones I use, so I do have that choice.

Cordless phones are blissfully hassle-free. And so are speaker phones, but that’s a different subject.

Someone actually did a study on how phone cords get tangled. The study confirmed what some have remarked upthread: it’s switching the receiver from one hand to another, and/or from one ear to another, that causes the twisting and tangling. The usual cause is picking up the phone with your dominant hand (right or left as appropriate), then having to switch hands to write down notes.

When I read the study reports I finally understood why my phone cords are never tangled. I’m right-handed, but my left ear is dominant (so is my left eye), so I always pick up the phone with my left hand. My right hand is still free, so I never need to switch hands or move the phone, unless it’s a long enough call for arm fatigue and ear sweat to become problems.

Thanks for bringing that up. I had forgotten that laterality is not only a matter of which hand one prefers, but also of which eye and ear is dominant.
The link gave a fun statistic:

So with my phone to my left, and me being right handed in picking it up and bringing it to my right ear, and having to switch ears when I want to write something down with my right hand…no wonder the cord tangles so fast ! Once again I thank the Dope for fighting my ignorance.

Oh, and si_blakely, that’s a thought too. After all, I sometimes secretly water her plants… :slight_smile:

Actually, in my experience the opposite is the case. The person in back is the one who steers, through different motions of the paddle (see here for illustrations) and by calling instructions to the one in the front (‘switch!’ ‘harder’ ‘faster’ ‘take a break’). The front paddler is basically just providing extra power, while the one in the back is acting as the rudder. It is possible (though a bit of a pain) to paddle a canoe solo, but only from the back. Wikipedia claims that steering from the front has its advantages, but I’ve never seen it work out, because as ** Maastricht** discovered, the front paddler can’t see what the rear is doing, and so should just paddle and not worry about it. Ideally, the stronger paddler is in front and the one with more steering finesse is in the back, as (wikipedia does point this out) it is easier to paddle with more force in the narrow bow than in the wider (wider in front of the rear paddler, though the same in the rear) so having your big strong pal in front makes best use of them as a resource.

So do righties. During the complete sequence of movements, from picking up the handset, perhaps putting it down on the desk for a while when you have to use your computer, to replacing it in the cradle, it’s pretty easy to put it thorugh a complete 360 rotation, and usually in the same direction. Do it enough times, and the line kinks.