Can we talk about cell phones? I'm not sure when exactly the law was passed stating that I have to have a cell phone on my person at all times, answer it each and every time it rings, no matter how inconvenient or impossible that may be, and answer all my messages the second that icon pops up. (Assuming I know what the icon even means.) As my mom says, "I have a phone for my convenience, not so I can be on-call at all times." I have friends. I have a phone. I like to talk to my friends, on my phone. If you have my number, chances are good that I like talking to you. (Visa, obviously I don't mean you. I'm sure you get that a lot. Sorry.) But I think things would be a lot easier for all of us if we establish a few rules.
1. I own a phone. You have possession of my phone number. Knowledge of my number does not entitle the holder to claim sole possession of my time/schedule/priorities/ability to remember to charge my phone. Sometimes I just can't talk at that very second, but I will be delighted to talk to you another time. You know, unless you're Visa. And sometimes I just have no idea where my phone is.
2. If I don't answer the phone, please don't be alarmed. Or offended. Especially not offended. I really can't handle one more "discussion" about how I'm deliberately not answering your calls. First of all, if you know me at all, you know I tend to lose things. My phone is no exception. And secondly, if you don't know me at all, why are you even calling me? And another thing: calling me again 30 seconds after the first attempt and still not getting an answer really isn't giving me a sporting chance. Aside from which, you're arguing with me NOW. That's kind of an indication that I DID answer your call. Eventually. See? Not avoiding you!
3. Voice mail. My message clearly states that it's unlikely that I'll even remember how to check my messages. That is assuming I can find my phone. If you choose to proceed at that point, don't be surprised when I don't remember how to check my messages or can't find my phone. In fact, just go ahead and assume that's what happened when you don't hear from me.
4. Texting. I don't know if there's something wrong with my thumbs. I think maybe they didn't evolve adequately for life in this century. I don't know. But I don't seem to be able to text very quickly. And in fact, I am just barely getting past my resistance to the entire concept. (I still think texting is like reverting to the telegraph.) For one thing, when you speak to me, I have no idea that you can't spell and I don't get distracted by it. Chances are I'm going to pay more attention to what you're actually saying if you just TALK to me. You know, with your voice? Otherwise I'm going to be busy thinking, "Why do so many people think "definitely" is spelled with an "a"? Plus when I spell things wrong, as I sometimes do, or finally break down and force myself to abbreviate and write "u" instead of "you", I feel on some level I'm disappointing my English teachers. And I've got enough guilt already, thanks. So please be patient. I'm trying!
5. Texting again. As mentioned, I'm not very quick with the texting thing. If you send me a text and then send me ANOTHER text while I'm still trying to answer the first one, and then I either have to forget finishing this answer and skip to the next one, or quickly finish and send it, knowing full well you've moved on to another thought...try not to be surprised or confused when I respond to your text "Where should we meet for dinner?" with, "Because the vacuum is on fire and also I lost the chicken. Again." Actually, from me that answer shouldn't surprise you under any circumstances, but especially if you get it via text.
6. Texting yet again. I know people like the texting option because it allows them to send a message somewhat privately, thus sparing unfortunate bystanders the graphic details of their conversations. A quick text may be necessary now and then, to the kids or the spouse, or whomever. But I've been with people who are so absorbed in their texting it's like spending time with someone who's only half there. If that. If you're with me and you're texting someone else throughout dinner, through the movie, etc. the message I'm getting is, "I'd rather talk to this other person right now, so you just go ahead and sit on the back burner until I have time to talk to you." Seriously? I don't know anyone who enjoys being "multi-tasked". If you'd rather be talking to someone else, by all means, you go right ahead. Just don't be outraged when you come up for air and realize I'm no longer with you. Come find me when you're able to put the phone down. You know, the way I do for you.
7. Yes, actually, I do know my mailbox is full. Maybe I just don't know how to empty it. Or maybe I like keeping it full, just so I don't have to deal with new irate messages about how I never check my voicemail. And? Leaving messages on my voicemail complaining about how I never check my voicemail? How effective do you think that's going to be, really?
If you have any questions about these rules, feel free to call me.