Telephone Habits

I had some time while I was waiting for my appointment this morning and found myself sifting through the notifications on my phone while I waited.

Instead of my usual swiping away what I didn’t want to be bothered with while quickly sifting through the rest with a final push of the clear-all-notifications button, I actually stopped and cleared out the one notification that is nearly always on my phone:

My Voice Mail.

I have tried to figure out why I really dislike voice mail so much.

I mean, I love being able to hear the voices of my friends and relatives — especially the old saved recordings of my baby boy’s babbling. And I love to talk on the phone.

But the whole slow system of logging in, listening to the preamble that begins each message, trying to remember which button deletes and which one saves, and all with no easy way to pause it or replay it if there is information in that message that I need to write down.

I have had 6 new voice mail messages waiting for me for a while – with the first one dating back nearly a month ago, I think.

I’m really not terrible though. I pay attention to the phone numbers for my missed calls – I swear I do. Sometimes things get past me though…

So when I listened to my messages this morning, I realized that I had one from my mother, four announcing school delays/early dismissals, and one from a friend.

I call my mother back without listening to the messages. Always. I ask her not to bother leaving them, but she can’t help herself.

I usually have already answered one of the other phones or gotten a text or an email about the delays or dismissals, so I don’t really need to hear those.

But I missed a friend’s call.

A long time ago.


Thankfully the question being asked in the call was one she already (intuitively) knew the answer to so I didn’t really need to respond, but I’m disappointed that I missed the chance to talk to her.

Our choices – like my stubborn choice to ignore my voice mail notifications – sometimes have undesirable effects.

Sometimes those effects aren’t felt for quite some time.

Sometimes they never make themselves known.

All of this – plus an unexpected early dismissal and free evening – has allowed me the luxury of indulging in some What If wondering about phones and how we use them and how we connect – or don’t – with one another because of them.

None of that seems all that specific or fantastic, I’m sure, but a few characters and situations have hatched in my brain. I’ve scribbled some notes in my notebook for revisiting later (hopefully choosing later rather than sooner is not a choice with an undesirable effect), but it feels good to have a chance for my brain to stretch an idea like this to see how far it might go, even just for a short while.


9 thoughts on “Telephone Habits

  1. Oh my. I’m afraid we share a guilty habit. I also ignore the voicemails that stack up on my phone. I really enjoyed reading this post. It seemed like a confessional. I like your easy style. I felt like I was conversing with a friend.

  2. Your post are always so easy to connect with. I’m afraid I’m quite the opposite of you. I always clear out notifications, messages, and emails. I can’t stand seeing that little red circle with a number on it on my phone! :)

    • I am good about checking every other notification on my phone. But for some reason, I really just don’t like the voice mail for some reason.

  3. I’m not sure I ever liked voicemail, perhaps because it doesn’t give me a chance to re-read like e-mails or texts do, to think about them. But when I read about someone keeping the voice mails of someone who is close to them & then passed away, I wish somehow I had those old voice mails. Of course, for me, I’m thinking of years ago, even on a machine, before recent ones. At school I hardly ever listen, just once in a while, & there is that same woman’s voice, & sometimes an old, old voice mail that really wasn’t important, something that could have been sent another way. Nice thoughts!

    • Linda, those were some of the thoughts that were running through my mind. Not sure if any of those stories will get past the seeds in my notebook, but it was fun to let them rattle around in my brain.

    • Actually – those little glimpses into my son’s life when he was smaller…those were the messages that really did it for me. I love to listen to them again as I resave them every time I have to. I get teary…

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