Old school answering machine by aeminphilly on Flickr
I’ve been meaning to write (rant) about this for a while, but a friend’s WTF post over on FB about companies’ and people’s answering messages has re-inspired me.
These are the most common messages — from people who know me — that get left on my home answering machine:
“Hi, I guess you must be in the shower…” (It’s the middle of the day, I’m already showered, thanks.)
“Hi, I guess you must be asleep…” (It’s midmorning, I’ve been up for several hours.)
“Hello, I guess you must be eating dinner or something…” (Dinner? At 4 PM?)
“Hi, I guess you must be… out.” (Well, now, there’s a no-brainer.)
After getting one of these messages, what I sometimes fantasize about having as my outgoing message (other than Carl Kasell‘s voice) is something like, “Hi, I’m either out, in the shower, sleeping, eating dinner at 10 AM, picking my nose, or listening to you right now and not picking up. You just take your best guess from those possibilities and get back to me.”
Why do people feel the need to leave a guess as to your whereabouts and/or whatabouts? Why can’t they just leave a message? Preferably one with actual info in it rather than a guess or just some babble.
Why does this bother me so much? Because I don’t do it myself, and because I also have to listen to people do this in conversations, except they usually say “maybe” or “probably” more than “must be,” and they don’t usually feel the need to guess. I can say something as simple as, “She went to the store,” and get back something like, “Oh, she probably had to get there before it closed.” Well, yes. People do have to get to the store before it closes, if they want to buy anything and not just sit out there in the parking lot. Picking their noses. Or showering.
One and only one person is exempt from my freaking out over this because that person has Alzheimer’s — the fact that they did this all the time before they had Alzheimer’s is irrelevant now, they get a free pass.
None of the rest of you get a free pass.