Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fascinating phone calls from very important people

I've never been the biggest fan of the phone.  It makes me feel awkward, dialing the number, you hope correctly, and listening to each of the rings, wavering between wishes that someone will pick up or that no one will answer.  And if they do answer, who knows who they might be.  Or whether they will know who you are.  Do you announce yourself, or simply say, 'Hello'?  One could be construed as redundant and overly formal ('Yeah...I know'), and the other could be an embarrassing assumption ('Hi...and this is?').

Note how each of the examples of failure contain the dreaded ellipses.  It's the dead air, the pregnant pauses, that strike fear in the heart of every phone-phobic.  Even the simplest of calls, placing a food delivery order, was something I avoided in college, silently willing my friends to use their phones instead.  The pressure of placing the order the 'right' way brings up too many variables, from whether to use the numbering system or the names of the dish, to how fast you can list off each item, it's the worst combination of human and machine interaction.  Takes away all the visual human cues but doesn't supply the simplicity of automation.

Anyway, as you now know, the phone and I are not friends.  This is only exacerbated by my office phone.  It embodies all of the flaws of its clan, plus it's very own impossible to navigate voicemail system.  And no one ever really calls me.  They call for whoever it was who was sitting here before me.  I direct them to their new extension, or they just end the call without asking.  There are only two things which can come from the phone: frustration and annoyance.

It's most benign offense is to simply be a momentary waste of time, as it was this morning.  The dreaded red light was blinking signalling that someone had called, blasting the area around me with rings while I wasn't there, and had left a message.  This meant finding the little piece of paper with my passcode number and the cheat sheet of what number plays the message, deletes the message, etc.  All before I've had coffee.  This is a very stressful task. 

And though I know that in all likelihood this message will hold nothing revelatory, the possibility remains that something has exploded, and in moments I will be drawn into chaos.  My cursedly vivid imagination runs wild as I wait for the inane automated voice to tell me the exact moment of  attempted contact.  Finally the message plays...

"...[hangs up]"

And now I can go back to the rest of my morning routine, checking the minefield of my inbox for overnight calamities and marveling at how glamorous and high-flying office life really is...

1 comment:

  1. In my skewed reality, I somehow feel that someone who has left me a message will know when I have actually listened to it, thus starting an imaginary clock on how long I may reasonably take to respond.