I have an issue with the phone. I’m not sure what it is. I just kind of hate it. I don’t want it to ring. Ever. Maybe it’s because I’m married and not looking for a date. Whatever. I just hate when the phone rings.
Caller ID was invented for people like me, people who would sooner cut their little fingers off than answer the phone to find a–gasp!–stranger on the other end of the line. When the phone rings in this household, my husband and I play a game of chicken. Who will give in first? Sometimes it’s not until the beginning of the fourth ring (voice mail picks up at the end of it) that one of us actually grabs the phone and peers at the little screen. If it’s a child, we pick up. I mean, if it’s one of OUR children. Other people’s children we’re not so interested in.
Of course, some people block their numbers.
I hate those people.
I have no problem letting them go to voice mail and then deciding if we’ll pick up or not once we know who it really is. You need to sound like you’re out of breath if you pick up after the voice mail does though–like you were RUNNING for the phone and almost didn’t make it. Otherwise people will think you’re screening your calls.
You don’t want people to think that.
I’ve tried to get the message across. People leave voice mails for me. I email them back. They call me on my cell. I email them back. They run up to me in stores or restaurants. I email them back.
“You cannot have a playdate with anyone whose mother doesn’t do email,” I tell my kids.
Why do I hate the phone so much? I don’t know. I guess it’s the negative reinforcement from those times I DO pick up and it’s a telemarketer or, you know . . . my mother in law. Not that I have anything against either. There’s just something about having to make small talk on a phone that drives me nuts. There are so many other things you could be doing with that time, like writing twenty emails or a clever facebook status. Or weeding the garden. Or writing a novel. Or flossing.
And you have to be so NICE on the phone. Watch someone on the phone talking to someone he doesn’t even like. He’ll smile the entire time because you’re supposed to be nice when you talk to people and you smile when you’re talking in a nice voice, even if you’d happily plunge a fork into the other person’s eye for calling RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MAD MEN. What kind of person calls during MAD MEN??? Admittedly we watch it on TiVo so it’s only on in our household, but even so . . . they’re ruining our lives.
So if you want to reach me, email me. In fact, just to make this point perfectly clear, I’m thinking of switching our current friendly voice mail message to something my friend Ann Brown said she’s going to put on hers:
“I am home right now, so please email me and I’ll get right back to you.”