My mentor Rob Delaney recently tweeted that the worst thing you could do to someone is leave them a voicemail. Ok, he’s not my mentor. We’ve never met. But he might be one of the funniest comedians on the planet right now (while also being the most disgusting), and now I want to bask in his awesomeness. I also wholeheartedly share a lot his world views, like his sarcastic anti-marijuana PSAs and his belief that cursing makes everything better. And now we share a mutual hatred of the voicemail, technology’s most fatal cancer.
A few months ago, my mom complained to me that my voicemail inbox was filled up and she couldn’t get in touch with me. When I told her the inbox was full on purpose, she went into a tirade about emergencies and family deaths and how would we ever reach youuuuuu??? Answers: Text. E-mail. GChat. BBM. Facebook message. Write on my wall. Tweet at me (@Kelly, stuck in a tree. Please help.). I will get ALL of these on my phone. And to these, I will respond.
As a kid I hated the telephone. I wouldn’t even answer it when it rang in the house and I was the only one there. I mean, what if there was an awkward pause and I had to fill it with some superficial small talk? Small talk just isn’t my thing. Have you ever talked to me in real life? Was the experience good? I probably said something wildly inappropriate, giggled, and then said “fact” or “it’s happening.” I’m a writer. I can’t just be forced to discuss any topic of your choosing on a whim. Also, I don’t really care about your job or kids (I’m just kidding – that’s only true for some of you).
So when texting was invented, it was like God had answered my prayers. I no longer needed to speak to people on the phone! And then, when I could get email on my blackberry…well, let’s just say life felt complete. Yet still, people continue to leave me voicemails. I want to punch them in the face.
On top of all this, I now have 18 saved voicemails in my inbox, saved from the last three cell phones I’ve had. In order for me to open up space on my blackberry for your ramblings, I’d have to go through them all, and delete some, and I don’t have this kind of time or emotional energy. One message is from my grandfather before he died. Several are from my ex-boyfriend. If you think I want to listen to these in the middle of my work day you are ridiculous. There’s an eight-minute long message from my mom as she searches the garage for my AP Stylebook, then says goodbye in 13 languages. There’s a drunk-dial message from my friend Matt in which he repeats the phrase “taxation without representation” over and over again. And there’s one message from Press Secretary Dave, asking me to meet him at the Rayburn House Office Building for an interview. I consider this him asking me out and it will stay in my inbox forever.
So let’s recap: calling me in general is a bad time and you just shouldn’t do it. Should you find yourself dialing my number anytime soon, and I don’t answer, please refrain from speaking to the lady in my phone. She doesn’t want to hear it either, that’s why her message is so damn long. Voicemails are a pain in the ass. It takes effort to dial in, put in a password, and listen, when all other forms of communication are instantaneous. Take it from me, you are long-winded, or someday in the future, I will have formed an emotional attachment to you and won’t be able to delete you from my phone, thereby making you a contributor to my voicemail hoarding.
So do not leave me a voicemail, you voicemail terrorist.