Recorded messages. The bane of polite society and not on my list of Favorite Things. I’m talking about those inane recorded messages you hear when you call someone and they don’t answer and they ask you to leave a recorded message of your own. I hate those. What I hate even more is hearing my own voice spouting that tripe.
If I sounded like Kathleen Turner or Lauren Bacall, I’d be recording messages all over the place. I’d be knocking on doors and strongly suggesting people let me record their messages for them. But I sound like a twelve-year-old girl who hasn’t spoken in a week and who now has to get up in front of a classroom of thirty other twelve-year-olds to discuss the mating habits of primates. Listening to some things is just painful and should not have to be endured.
Lucky for me, I happen to have a perfectly acceptable and serviceable recorded message on my home voice mail. Just because it was recorded by The Dog’s Favorite Person and just because he hasn’t answered that phone for more than four years now is no reason to erase a perfectly good message. After all, I never have to listen to it. I mean, c’mon, I never call myself. I know when I’m not there and, frankly, it didn’t take me all that long to figure out that calling myself when I’m not home is a waste of time. And if I am there, I don’t need to call me to talk to myself.
As far as I’m concerned, this is just not a problem.
But apparently everyone in the known universe who has my home phone number, and calls it on occasion, is increasingly upset and offended by this perfectly good message. To the point that I am damn sick and tired of hearing about it. So I might have to replace it.
But here is the problem. In my current mood, the new recorded message might sound something like this:
“Fine then, here it is. Happy now? Oh, and by the way, this is a reminder that I do not have Caller ID nor am I psychic, so if you want me to know you called, you’re going to have to LEAVE A MESSAGE. And if you choose not to do so, please do NOT call me in three days and complain that I never called you back, because I DID NOT KNOW you called me. I will have assumed those hang up calls were computers trying to convince me to refinance the lawnmower or buy a timeshare on Mars or donate blood to the local food bank. And do NOT whine at me via email that I must be ignoring you since I decided not to answer your calls and you don’t understand why I would be so cold and unfeeling when you’ve done nothing to deserve it and there is no reason for me to be angry with YOU, because if I didn’t answer the phone when you called it was for some REALLY GOOD REASON that had NOTHING to do with who you are, like maybe I was in the middle of writing a scene or making dinner or cleaning up cat yack or had my hands full of dirty dishes and couldn’t get to the damn phone which I do not carry on my hip by the way and sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to anyone and don’t believe it imperative to pick up that thing every time it makes a noise and sometimes I’m in the shower or taking out the garbage or brushing my teeth or maybe I’m out painting the town red and closing down the bars, but the point here is that I have NO IDEA who is calling until I pick up the phone and say “hello” and, damn it, for some really good reason I didn’t do that, did I? SO STOP POUTING AND WHINING AT ME. [beep]”
I’m not entirely sure, never having recorded one of these recorded messages, but I think there is a time limit and I’m pretty sure I’d be halfway through all that and get cut off. So I’d try again, only doing it faster, and get cut off about two-thirds of the way through, which would irritate me beyond the point which I agree to be irritated. So then the message would end up as an incoherent snarl sounding something like this:
“Either leave a goddamn message or stop effing calling me. [beep]”
Can’t have that. Mom would not approve.
So I’m asking for suggestions. Surely there must be some middle ground. I refuse to have one of those brain numbing messages that says, “You have reached the residence of the number you called. Please leave a message at the tone. [beep]” I’d sooner disconnect the thing. Which is sounding more and more like the most viable option.
What would you expect to hear if you called me and got a recorded message? I need help.