Yes, I know my voicemail is full.
People who call me and attempt, in vain, to leave a message, soon find out that they can’t, because my voicemail is full. Some of them, as soon as they do get in touch, feel compelled to ask me, with grave concern in their voices, if I know my voicemail is full.
Half of the time, I say, “Oh! Gee! Thanks for letting me know! I’ll go take care of that right after we get done talking!” The other half of the time, I actually tell the truth: “It’s 2019! Get with it! Voicemail is outmoded technology.”
That’s because the same voicemail that goes like this …
“Ah, yes, Chuck, hey, it’s Laszlo. Listen, um, I’m calling because, um, I need to know if you can pick up a case of beer, and ah, maybe bring a towel, you know, like a beach towel, to the barbecue tonight, because we’re thinking of using the pool, if the pool guy actually shows up, haha! Or maybe we won’t even do it then. I can’t decide. Anyway, are you bringing somebody? You’re welcome to. In fact, you should! Call up that girl you were dating last year and see if she wants to hang. I liked her. Actually, can I have her number? Anyway, see you at the barbecue tonight, man! Bye!”
… could be condensed into a text message that reads like this:
“Please pick up beer and bring a towel to the bbq. It may involve swimming. And bring girls, preferably what’s-her-name from last year. What’s her number?”
Texting provides an advantage for me, because I can understand in three seconds what it would otherwise take 45 seconds (at least) to listen to. It also is in Laszlo’s best interests, because he does not come off as a total doofus.*
So, I don’t give Laszlo or anyone else a choice — my voicemail is full and will continue to be full for the foreseeable future. What is it full of? I have no clue. I’ve had the same phone number since 2004, so I probably just saved a bunch of 25th birthday greetings, messages from a girl I dated in 2007, and maybe even a two-minute, 45-second drunk dial karaoke recording of my best friend from 2012.
Those gems will be around forever, although there’s precious little chance in hell I’ll venture into the byzantine dialing exercise to figure out how to access my archived messages, much less actually listen to them. That’s because I have to do that far too often at work.
Why is it that every office phone system uses technology that’s as relevant as George W. Bush jokes? I’m not just picking on my office here — I see this all over. (And, also, I know my boss reads these columns, so I just want to say I adore our office phones, and we should never change them! Why would we? Haha! Who would think of such a thing? There goes Chuck with more humor in his humor column! Woo, good one!)
Again, this is 2019 — instead of having to call a client’s office, have his assistant answer the phone, be put on hold for two minutes and then get hung up on, I should be able to text the client from my office phone and let them ignore me that way. It’s just as unproductive, but it saves two minutes that I can put toward texting other clients who ignore me.
Plus, office phones have actual dial tones. When’s the last time you heard a dial tone when you weren’t working? Sometimes, I half-expect to hear Alexander Graham Bell tell the operator from “Lassie” to connect him to the old Miller house down the street.
Old-fashioned voice calls are phenomenal when you want to hear that special person’s voice, reconnect with an old friend, or speak with anyone over the age of 70. And I actually do like talking on the phone during those roughly two hours out of every day I have my ringer on. (Unless I forget to turn it on that day.) But, please, if I don’t pick up and the recorded voice tells you my voicemail is full, don’t panic. Because I’m going to ask the next person who tells me my voicemail is full whether they’re also worried about Y2K, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, or their CDs getting scratched.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch “You’ve Got Mail.”
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*-There is a split in doofus spelling convention. Some people insist it is indeed “doofus,” while others contend “dufus” is the way to go. I know this because both are in the dictionary, meaning someone at the dictionary company — who presumably draws an actual paycheck — couldn’t come up with a definitive spelling of the word. What a doofus! (Or dufus.)