Most of us have voicemail now. We live in a technological age and most of us have progressed from relying on answering machines that we used to check when we got home to carrying our home phone with us everywhere we go. We can check messages in the grocery store, in the car, even in the bathroom.
Some people don’t leave us messages at all. The very idea violates some fundamental value and they intentionally exercise restraint. They believe the whole process is a waste of time when they can just catch up with you later. Or maybe your caller ID will alert you of the call and you will call them back when you get a minute.
For one lady I know, this example works best. She never checks her messages anyway. She employs the “ain’t nobody got time for that” attitude and she figures if somebody needs her to know something they can just send her a text. If it’s not important enough to grab her immediate attention with a text, she can always chat with that person later. Maybe on Facebook between segments of her candy crushing saga.
Others will always leave a message regardless of how short and simple, “It’s me; call me back.”
Presumably you will know who ‘me’ is and you will do as instructed, if you know the number. Or you may have some idea that ‘me’ is very important and will therefore feel compelled to look up the number if the caller ID missed it.
Or you know who the person is, won’t necessarily want to talk to her, and, immediately upon hearing the message, begin making excuses to yourself to explain, if asked later, why you didn’t return the call.
Maybe you don’t check messages at all, preferring instead to let them fill up the ‘in’ box until there’s no more room for more messages. This way, the caller is notified that their message will not be heard and another tactic must be employed. Like sending a text, or finding you on Facebook.
We all have our pet peeves when it comes to both leaving a message and retrieving one. Mine is the rapidity with which the digits of an unfamiliar telephone number are shot out at me over voicemail, shot out only at the very end of a ridiculously long message, digits I cannot possibly remember. This is especially true now that we also have to use an area code with each number we call.
I’m reminded of several missed calls over the years in which I’ve sat down with pen and paper to take notes while I listened, only to completely miss the number when it was quickly blurted out at the end.
Option “44” allowed me to hear my message again. I hoped I could write it all down this time because I only had the area code thus far. Thinking I had more time before the end of the message, I took a bite of my cheeseburger and had completely lost track of my pen by the time the number got around to being rattled off again.
Listening for the third time, I caught myself daydreaming through the contents of a message I mostly knew by heart then only to be startled back to reality when the numbers were once again spat out in rapid fire succession, making me think of the sound bullets make when fired from an automatic weapon.
Portions of the message were so deliberate that I knew I would no longer need my notes as I listened to the replay for the fifth time, my paper bearing only six of the necessary ten numbers. And lots of doodles made while the rest of the message’s content monotonously played in my ear.
Finally I had the number. I took a deep breath to still my frustration. I gathered my wits and knew just how I wanted to address her concerns. I then carefully placed a call using the numbers I’d just spent so much time gathering.
I got her voicemail.