Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"I don't like TALKIN' on dem THANGS."

Have you ever heard that in-response when folks say they called you, so you ask why they didn't leave a message? I have.

If you're one of those people, that's cool, I guess. Do your thing. I just don't understand it.

Now, if you don't leave a message AND you don't expect to have your call returned, that's REALLY cool. That makes sense to me - even if I don't understand the strong aversion some folks have to answering machines and voicemail services. At least you have reasonable expectations.

Can anyone explain these things to me, though? (1) Message-o-phobia and (2) Expecting folks to call even if you didn't leave a message?

Like I said, the former is more reasonable than the latter, but I really don't get either of'em.

A friend of mine is good for this, so after noticing her name on my "missed calls" list, I called her and we exchanged perspectives on the issue:

I asked, "I see you called. Why didn't you leave a message?"

She responded, "Well, I just figured that you'd see my name on your caller i.d. and call me back to see what was up."

Obviously, that's what I did, this time, but, "...generally, I figure that, if someone calls and doesn't leave a message, they didn't really want anything; maybe they just wanted to shoot the breeze for a sec. I just figure that they'll leave a message if they want me to return the call."

We basically left it at that, at the time. So I guess we'll continue to play this game of communicative tug-o-war, each side occasionally and temporarily raising the white flag.


I've had plenty of other friends and family members say they don't like leaving messages on "those things," but the only explanation I ever remember hearing for this was that these people don't like how their voices sound when recorded.

I don't like how my voice sounds then, either, but I like the sound of my phone ringing.

It's no biggie, either way, but help me out here, wouldja, folks? What am I missing?

MizJJ's comment reminded me that I meant to mention folks who not only leave super-long messages, but also those that don't listen to anyone else's.

My mom (love ya, Mommy) is good for that one. I'll call her to tell her what I need her to know, choosing my words very carefully for clarity's sake... and she simply calls me back, instead of listening to what I said in the message. Now, this is Moms, so it's cool to talk to her and all, but I'd rather not have to repeat myself - especially if I said everything you needed to know... in the message you chose to ignore.

Then there are the folks, like my former landlady, who leave nigh-valueless messages. If you want to tell me that the pest control guy is coming by on Tuesday, don't leave a message that simply asks me to call you... so you can tell me. JUST TELL ME.

Making someone call you back just so you can tell them something you could've said on the answering machine/voicemail is a waste of everybody's time. (Of course, if it's sensitive information, I understand.) But some folks are genuinely lonely, so any call from them, for whatever reason, becomes a social call... sometimes an interminable one.


chele said...

Not leaving a message is fine but still expecting a callback is just nutty. I see numbers on my caller i.d. all the time but if there is no message I don't call back. I guess I think most people are like me ... if I don't leave a message it's because I didn't want anything and I do not expect a call back.

West said...

Do you have an issue with leaving your voice on a machine or whatever?

Maurice & Needleman said...

I don't have any friends or family members who do this to me. My grandma does this to my mom but my grandma is old and quite frankly gets to do what she wants as long as she don't hurt nobody.

Maurice & Needleman said...

That last post was from SOBe. I forgot that I'm logged in as aone of my clients. Later.

Luke Cage said...

West, I couldn't agree with you more my brother. With me, it's actually one person who does this. She calls ALL the time and if I don't pick up, she doesn't leave a message. Then when we talk, she'll say I called you. And I'll come back with, really? You didn't leave a message.

Then she says "oh, I didn't leave a message" To which I'll say, well I guess you didn't call. She knows this irks me yet she does it anyway. I just don't address it because that's where she feels she'll have me pinned. Just my bringing it up is something of a victory for her.

As for leaving my voice on answering machines, I can't complain about it and do it also man. I always leave a message when I call. Regardless of how I may sound. That one sounds corny to me anyway. How would they know how they sound on your answering machine anyway??

West said...

Hmm... I didn't get a single notification about these new comments.


Anyway, I hear you, Blog-el. When it comes to the old folks, most people don't really feel any battle is worth fighting. For me, it depends on the battle. :p

Like Luke, if a friend (or anyone, including Granny) asks why I didn't return their call, and they didn't leave a message (which can be as short as, "this is X; gimme a call"), I tell'em that a message greatly increases the chances that I'll call you back. Although it's also true that I'll sometimes call people back just because I saw that they called... but I don't always notice.

Miz JJ said...

I hate when people don't leave a message. But then again my mom leaves the loooongest messages. Sometimes I wish she would just say "Hi JJ it's mom." but instead I get a blow by blow of everything. You can't win.

Francis Michael O'Halloran said...

sounds like they are afraid the machine will take part of their soul away. Sorta like the natives that are afraid of cameras. Southerners, ha!

West said...

jj: Yup. I know some folks like that.

In fact, you reminded me of something I meant to add to that post.


francis michael: Welcome.
I know just what you mean and I even started to say just that, but half the time, folks don't seem to get the reference... or I'm just unfunny.

Son of Blog-El said...

...sounds like they are afraid the machine will take part of their soul away.

Ha! I got it and I like that joke.