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To Voicemail Or Not To Voicemail?

Grandma’s voicemail: “This is Grandma. Can you patch this message through to my granddaughter, Monica?”

“Thanks for the voicemail. You might just as well put a note on the door of the apartment I lived in 5 years ago.”

That’s the gist of a funny quote I read somewhere on these here internets, probably Twitter.

Are people still leaving voicemails? I don’t. Hate ‘em.

The last thing I have time to do as the parent of two toddlers is play voicemail games. Email me, text me, Facebook me, come visit me, but for crying out loud, do not leave me a voicemail or it will end up in the great voicemail vortex of unheard voicemails, wherever that is.

Listening to voicemails is verrrrrrry low on my priority list, hence, if you leave me a voicemail I will likely not get it. But Facebook message me and I’ll answer that within the hour.

Go figure.

I don’t know if I had a traumatic voicemail experience when I was young, but when I realize that someone has left me a voicemail my entire soul slumps in the same way it used to when I was 20 and just remembered – after a night of drinking – that I had Calculus class next morning at 7:45 am.

Checking my voicemail takes a herculean effort. Sounds stupid, I know. But, to me, people never quite mastered the art of leaving a voicemail.

State your name: This is Natalie/your mother/Violet’s teacher

Why you called: Confirming drinks on Tuesday/I need Violet’s shoe size/Reminding you that you’re chaperoning the upcoming field trip

Whether or not you need a return call: Call me back IF you can’t make it, otherwise, see you then/Call me back when you get this/No need to call back unless you’re plans have changed.

But really, why are any of these people leaving voicemails? That’s like sending a letter to your mom updating her on your week when you can call her on the phone. Why wouldn’t Natalie or my mom text me? Why wouldn’t a school teacher email? Sometimes I think people just like to hear themselves talk. I’m not naming names but I have certain relatives who will leave upwards of three minute voicemails.

“So we were thinking of having dinner on Saturday night. Maybe we’ll go to Applebee’s or maybe we’ll have it at our house. On the one hand, we really love that one meal at Applebee’s. What’s that dish called? (Shouting to spouse in middle of voicemail) WHAT’S THAT DISH YOU LIKE AT APPLEBEE’S? (Unintelligible mumbling) Oh yes! THE WINGS. So we really like the wings at Applebee’s but I also have some hamburger in the freezer that I could use to make meatloaf. I don’t know. Call us back and let us know what you guys want to do. Also, if Friday works better for you guys maybe we can do it Friday but it will have to be after seven because I don’t get back from work until 6:30 on Fridays. But the girls wanted to go out this Friday. But Saturday we can go anytime. Just call and let us know. But I need to know by tomorrow because if you do want to go on Friday I need to let the girls know I can’t make it and… Well, just call me back. Or maybe I’ll just call you back in an hour or so and see if you answer…”

Oh for the love of MIKE. That voicemail is more stress-inducing than a math test. Not only did she suck two minutes of my life I’ll never get back but now her weekend plans are my responsibility and there is a deadline and OH MY GOSH you have a cell phone!  Why can’t you just text me or hey. How about email?

Dinner on Saturday? Applebee’s or our house?

HOW HARD IS THAT? WHY ARE YOU MAKING PLANNING FOR DINNER ON SATURDAY MY PART-TIME JOB?

And then there was Grandma. Who talked to my voicemail as if it were a person.

“HELLO? HELLOOOO? (“Oh, I think it’s her answering machine,” she tells herself out loud.) TELL MONICA THAT HER GRANDMOTHER CALLED. (Written in all caps because Grandma is shouting as if she’s calling from the cockpit of a single-engine fighter plane preparing to open fire on Germany circa 1942.) TELL HER I WANT TO GET STARTED ON THAT QUILT I’M MAKING FOR HER BUT I NEED TO KNOW THE COLORS. SHE CAN PICK THE PATTERN OR I CAN, BUT IF I’M PICKING THE MATERIAL I’D AT LEAST LIKE TO KNOW WHICH COLORS SHE’D LIKE. I WAS THINKING OF A DEEP MAROON WITH PINK FLOWERS. THE STEMS WOULD BE GREEN SO THE QUILT WOULD HAVE SOME GREEN BUT MOSTLY PINK AND MAROON. BUT SHIRLEY TOLD ME PINK ISN’T THE FASHION ANYMORE SO MAYBE BLUE? TELL MONICA I’M GOING TO CALL HER MOTHER, ELAINE, AND ASK HER…BUT MAYBE I’LL WAIT FOR MONICA TO CALL ME BACK. IF YOU CAN JUST PATCH THIS MESSAGE THROUGH TO HER AND TELL HER GRANDMA IS ASKING ABOUT THAT QUILT THAT WOULD BE WONDERFUL. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.”

Patch the message through?

Now that I think about it, maybe that was where the trauma started. Voicemail = work. I think I need to look into that app that transcribes all voicemails into emails and sends them to me. Email, no problem. I can fire off twenty emails in the time it takes me to gird my loins and check those voicemails.

What about you? Do you find that voicemails crush your soul or am I being a little dramatic?

A big thanks to Energizer for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Photo Credit: ohkimberly.com

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