Voice from the Middle

Why no one is answering the phone

I have a long history — to the chagrin of my mother — of not answering my phone when someone calls. The cool kids these days call it ghosting. But it’s been around for quite a while in my life.

It started in the 90s. I’d be up on the second floor of my house with a baby on my lap or a load of laundry in piles around me, and the phone would ring. Out of shear exhaustion, I didn’t jump up and run to the first floor to answer the phone once. And as soon as I didn’t do it once, I was hooked.

Why should I be interrupted from whatever I am doing or whatever is the plan for a particular time, just because someone out there wants to talk to me?

Sales calls during our dinner hour — no way. I’d just let it ring. They’ll leave a message if they really want to talk or need something from me is what I reason. I remember my kid’s visiting friends who lived in a more phone-friendly household, and the phone would be ringing and no one would bat an eye in the direction of the box on the wall. I’d often hear them explain, “my mom doesn’t answer the phone.”

Back then, they called it screening your calls. For me it had more to do with time management and respecting my time over anything else. Choosing when I interacted with someone.

Then cell phones became a large part of our lives. I’m an early adopter of technology so I had a palm pilot first. Then a Nokia cell phone in 2004ish. But when I got my Motorola RAZR, (man I loved that phone) most people were using cell phones.csm_Motorola_Razr_c78f42d1e8

I may have loved my RAZR, but I didn’t feel a need to answer every call that came in.

It wasn’t long until we parents noticed our kids not answering their phones or listening to their voicemails. We’d talk amongst ourselves about how our darlings would text immediately back when we communicated with texts. Silence if we called.

It seemed to be about 2014 that the marketing and the business world started noticing that millennials were not using voicemail. It was that year that the New York Times reported Vonage seeing a significant drop in voicemail retrieval. LOL. My little millennials were just like other little millennials.

This past week, I heard that back in 2014 the Coke company did away with voicemails altogether. Imagine a world where we couldn’t leave a message even if we want to. Is this progress?

Progress is the wonderful pictures we can now take and helpful apps we can have at our fingertips. Oh and yea, you can leave voicemails no one is going to listen to.

That is if your kids mailbox isn’t full. Chances are it hasn’t been set up or is full.

Texting it is then.

— Namaste

By Debra Happe

Debra Happe is a writer and marketing professional based in Des Moines, Iowa. Debra does business, magazine, and freelance copywriting work. Specialties include science-based, environmental, and technological. Connect on LinkedIn for professional inquiries.

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