Answer the Damned Phone!

When you repeatedly leave recordings on my voice mail in which you bitch about my call returning habits...Well, let's just say, don't hold you breath waiting for my ring.

If I wanted to have a conversation every damn time the phone rang then I probably wouldn't have voice mail in the first place.

Just to be clear here: When the answering machine became available to the mass public I was the first in line. I used to record very complicated scripts to entertain my callers, and to make up for the fact that I wasn't answering their call. My number used to get passed around so people could call and listen to these mini programs. One outgoing message was played on the radio and widely enjoyed by the listening audience. My machine had a social life of its own!

Then, due to the fact that I hoped to have potential employers calling, I went mainstream with my messages. Not good for the HR department of a company I desperately wanted to work for to call and hear my sarcastic voice saying I was currently otherwise engaged in destroying Corporate America. Or purring seductively that I was "tied up" while the soundtrack to 9 1/2 Weeks played in the background.

Oh I had a wildly exciting life lived through my outgoing messages. Sometimes I was French, or Russian. Sometimes I was unavailable for calls because I was out of the country, or at my "Summer" house, or exercising the ponies.

I was at times out with Elvis, Bruce, or even God.

Good times. Good times.

Now though (meaning, at all times since the 80's), when you call the recording just says to leave your name and number. Usually it isn't even my voice, which, even in 2005 still confuses some people.

My father likes to call and bitch hatefully that I am completely rude and irresponsible about returning calls. One time he even mocked the recording.

Yes, it was not even my voice, but he was so mad he mocked a digital recording.

He is also known to show up to pound at the door within a half an hour of his last unanswered call.

My father is not one to be easily ignored. The last time this happened the confrontation went something like this:

"You NEVER answer your phone!"

"I'm not really home all that much."

"I've been leaving you messages for weeks! I haven't talked to you in months!"

"Dad, I talked to you last week."

"I could be dead and buried before you knew!"

"No, dad, someone would call me if you died."

"But you wouldn't answer the damned phone!"

"Well, they'd call me at work where the Receptionist MAKES ME take calls. Or, they'd call me on the cell phone."

"You have a cell phone now?"

"Yes dad, I've had it for years - the same number too."

"Well may I have the number?"

"Sure dad." At this point I give him the number for about the 97th time and he crams it into his overstuffed wallet.
"So, what did you need dad?"

"Oh, I just wanted to see how you are doing."


So, basically he ended with a lecture about how I was doing a disservice to my family, to my friends, to God and my country by not answering every single call.

I promised to stay in touch.

So, in sum: Leave your damned message and hope for the best.

And if you're dad, I'M NOT HOME.