10 Reasons to Hate Voicemail

I have a phone aversion. The phone is not my friend. And, it's a little awkward to talk about. Because, if I admit how much I hate talking on the phone, my friends and family will assume I'm talking about talking to them. It's a tricky phone line to walk, because you will end up thinking you shouldn't call me ... ever. It's a hard thing to speak, because conversation is the lynch pin for relationships. And relationships are the engine of a life lived in community. But the phone ... 'not so much. Admitting a phone aversion is like declaring a hate for all animals, or permanently refusing to eat any form of solid food. These are things normal people just don't do.
Practically speaking, there are reasons. My hearing impairment makes everyday conversation an extremely visual process. Like most hearing-aid-wearers, I rely on facial expressions to understand context of message. And, I need to lip read in order to communicate confidently. Obviously, lip reading isn't really possible on the phone. So, for me, communicating on the phone is the audio equivalent of a legally blind person driving without glasses.
But, it's not just about the hearing. It's something fundamental about talking a lot into the small device. It's weird, but I know I'm not alone in this. And because people matter a whole lot more than my phone aversion, I make it work. Sometimes, a long conversation just needs to happen. Sometimes, it's important to check in and make sure things are ok. Sometimes, I need to be reminded to bring a snack, or be at an appointment. It's true.But there's one phone-ish thing that I can't seem to get functional about.
Voicemail. It's the business of messages that make me an official Phone Stooge. I curse the day the first answering machine was invented. This makes me sound like a total technology throw-back. Like, now, I should start lamenting the loss of 8 track players and video cassettes. But, this is one invention I do not celebrate and will not miss. Answering machines are an enemy of my self-esteem. They sneer at me and taunt me as incompetent.
Again, this is awkward to talk about without making someone feel bad for perfectly natural voicemail or message-leaving behavior. It sounds rude. But, frequent caller friends know: Don't leave me a message. Text me. Call back later. Send an email. Anything but voicemail.
So, just in case there are masses who need me to speak a collective angst, I will post my list. Here is my list of 10 Reasons to Hate Voicemail.

Ten Reasons to Hate Voicemail
  1. The blinking red light makes me feel like I'm in trouble.
  2. I never know what's waiting for me in the message box.
  3. People get mad if I have it, and don't respond quickly.
  4. People get mad if I don't have it, and can't be reached.
  5. I still can't figure out how to retrieve my cell messages without dialing a password.
  6. More than 4 messages and I'm paralyzed; After 4, nobody is getting a call-back.
  7. Setting up a new voice mailbox is like asking for extra homework and no credit.
  8. Nobody ever leaves a happy message.
  9. Messages are business, questions, or reminders. What's fun about that?
  10. Voicemail is a technical master and I refuse to be a slave.
There you have it. Dysfunction exposed. Maybe I can start my own support group, and the opening mantra will be "Hello, my name is Kelley and I am a recovering phone stooge."
Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way.


KELLY said...

Right on!!! Love it . . .

sibbi said...

I think,in general, I have a love/hate relationship with the phone. I hate being interrupted and I repeat my self too often and sometimes talk too long when on the phone. I love it because I can talk to family and friends that are distant and "catch up". There are a couple of close family members that I do not always answer when they call, but wait until I have more time or am more in the mood to deal with them and call them myself then. I hate getting caught in any type or solicitor call Because I am sort of nice, I don't usually just hang up, I let them say their speil and then a have to say "no" 3 times for them to leave me alone. I have been known to click on the speaker button and turn it off real fast so I don't have to talk to a solicitor. I have even been the one to tell them I am not home. Now if that doesn't feel like manipulation i don't know what does. I am one who will check the caller id before picking up if we are doing school, in the middle of something that I cannot leave, or if I am taking a nap. I have been known to take the phone off the hook so it won't even ring, then I don't have to deal with it at all. I do check messages, but I don't run and do it the minute I walk in the house. I let the phone company take the messages so I don't have to deal with the machine, it's lights or buttons or poor reception. I take messages when I have a couple minutes and enough time to write down phone numbers or whatever I need to to remember why to call back. I have not set up my mailbox on my cell phone and am no longer giving out my cell phone number whenever asked. I have decided that I don't want business calls on my cell phone and I don't want everyone who has me fill out a form to have my cell number. They can call me at home, or better yet, I can call them if I need to. I DO prefer phone calls to texts most of the time. I do like at least a voice to voice relationship with others. Actually the phone is just another form of technology that I think we allow to much control in our lives...I am all for keeping it simpler and the phone is one contraption I understand and can choose how I use it. well, most of the time...well, some of the time...

Anonymous said...

Okay, but the thing that really makes me crazy is when people leave a message on the home phone and then they call my cell phone and leave another message. Aaaargh!

Sunshine and Rain said...

Amen sister!
I have several phone issues myself but my primary issue is with the, "hey why don't you answer your phone exactly when I call you" person. These are offically, "phone answering natzi's". There is something very disturbing about an unspoken expectation that I am obligated to answer MY phone no matter what time of day, or that I am tied to another human being no matter where I am in the world. Must I answer immediatley and consistantly to the beep, beep, beep of my cell phone as if it were the warning signal to an oncoming nuclear disaster?
These are the same people who demand that you call them back asap even when there is no real emergency or they press some button that creates a message of "urgency" just to get you to return their call sooner. What a con! How the heck are they doing that? I would like to find out so I can call them back in the middle of the night and leave several "urgent" thoughts on their phone. Actually, that would not work because these people would answer at those dark hours and then I would have to talk to them.
Don't you love when you finally call someone back and it's been an entire 1-2 hours and they respond with, "I called earlier, why didn't you pick up?" What the heck does that mean? It is as if to say, "I own you and your cell phone and you should always answer when my name hits the digital ticker or else!"
Last I checked, my name is still on the phone bill and as of today none of these people have offered to pay it.
Letting it ring...

Kleigh said...

Clearly we all have a lot to say about the phone!
We have phone issues!
@Sibbi -- your process for solicitors made me laugh. And, good job protecting your cell phone number!

@ Ryan -- Welcome the The Spill! And thanks so much for your hilarious comments about Phone Nazis! I want to adopt that and make it common language for us all. I totally get it. 'Anonymous' (comment above yours) gets it, too. We totally relate.
'Glad to have you in the conversation!


Anonymous said...

Just a story...my grandfather hated phone solicitors. He finally got to the point where he would answer (this was before the days of caller id or no-call lists), he would identify the person as a solicitor, he would say, "I'm not interested"...all very polite...and then when the person kept talking (always happens) he would lay the receiver on it's side and go about his business, letting the solicitor talk to the air. About 5 minutes later he'd go hang up the phone.

Kleigh said...

ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Maureen said...

Hey, Kel - bravo. I have no hearing impairment and I can't stand voicemail. I've trained my sisters not to leave voicemail and I wish I could train everyone else!

We just switched phone companies about a month ago and I don't know how to access (yet) voicemail. Not sure I'll even try to learn!


Anonymous said...

You deserve a mug from the IHateVoiceMail.biz Association. Or a beach towel.