Straight to Voicemail

Phone-Not home

You may have called me for a good reason, but I’ve kicked you straight into voicemail oblivion. I’ll dust off your time-sensitive voicemail on my own terms. Thank you very much.

It’s terribly rude and downright wrong, but that’s how we roll in these times of smart phones and self-absorption. We’ve all seen your call and some of us have even felt its vibrating urgency on our wrist. So why do we consistently de-prioritize a phone call?

Remember the days of “I’ll get it!”? The phone would ring and we’d hurdle any obstacle to pick it up on as few rings as possible. If you’re the caller, could there be a nicer compliment than someone answering your call out of breath. The subtle message being, your call is so important to me that I risked spraining my ankle to get to you.

Today, it’s the total opposite. Phone calls are now handled using the following standard operating procedures:

  1. Ugh, someone is calling me.
  2. Send it to voicemail.
  3. Forget about it for 3 days.
  4. Respond with the text “Sorry I missed your call”.

The not-so-subtle message being, don’t call me. If you do, I’ll make sure you feel devalued.

My parent’s generation still answer the phone with endearing urgency. THEY WILL ALWAYS ANSWER. They allow the phone to wake them up, interrupt their meals and anything else they might be doing. To underscore this point….they have a phone in their bathroom. Call them! They’ll answer and it will make you feel good.

Whenever I call someone, I expect it to go into voicemail. I have a lot of time behind the wheel and voice texting is wildly inaccurate, so I call people. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it goes to voicemail. I’m okay with that. Sometimes there’s a reason for my call and sometimes it’s just a touch point.

Usually, I’ll get a call back in a few days which I, of course, send to voicemail. My friends and I trade voicemails leaving tidbits about our lives and well-wishes to each other like smoke signals across the valley or writing a letter. Eventually the stars align and we connect.

My phone calls aren’t what they used to be, lying on my back with my feet in the air, twirling the phone cord, monopolizing the line for hours (talk about self-absorbed). But the rare fifteen minute actual phone conversation is restorative in a way no text chain could be and well worth the ten traded voicemails to get it.