Did you ever hear that old Bruce McCulloch song, “Answering Machine”? It’s one of my favorites from the Kids in the Hall star’s fabulous, funny album Shame-Based Man. A classic, really.
Here’s the chorus that plays most often in my head:
I Love My Answering Machine
I Love My Answering Machine
It Keeps the People I Know Away from Me.
I actually don’t even have an answering machine, haven’t for years. I’m all voicemail. It’s just the idea that when you don’t feel like dealing with someone or something, there’s that magic piece of technology as your buffer. The busier my life gets, the more precious my time is to me. And I just don’t have the time or energy for unwanted or unnecessary communication.
If I had to list my communication vehicles in order, from most preferred to least, it would look like this:
- Snail mail
- Text message
- Mobile phone
- Home phone
- Work phone
If I had to rewrite the song, it would go “I love my Gmail, I love my Gmail … ” People can email me with whatever — an update on them, a question for me, information — and I can respond in my own time, on my own terms. There is nothing better. (OK, face to face or phone is better for important conversations about life events and sensitive stuff. I’ll give you that.)
I like Facebook and Twitter, too, though I prefer to keep my communications in one place (Gmail) to manage it all. Texts are OK, but I forget they’re there and if I don’t respond immediately, I tend to not respond at all.
And then, there’s the phone. Maybe I’ve become increasingly antisocial as I age, but I really don’t like talking on the phone. When people call me, I’m more likely to let it go to voicemail then pick up (unless I really need to take care of it right then). Sure, I answer it for my husband or my babysitter. But anything that could easily be handled via email … why call? I just don’t get it.
I Collect Calls
Like Spinsters Collect Porcelain Dolls
Sometimes I’ll Get Fearless and Return One.
But I’ll Only Speak
If on the other end of the phone
Is another Answering Machine.
The whole calling/voicemail-leaving thing happens at work a lot. I get calls from people and even voicemails that had to take the person longer to make than if they had just shot me a 10-word email message. I usually return them with an email. Is that terrible? I just don’t want to talk. Right then. On their terms.
I just love email. Love it love it love it. I’ll keep my phone for emergencies and need-to-chat occasions. I’ll check my Facebook and do my Twitter when I feel like it. But email me sometime, will ya? Or you can send me a card in the mail. It’s always a nice surprise.
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