In every relationship, no matter how harmonious, there is an element of discord.
One of ours is the phone. My mate and I have differing approaches to a ringing telephone. Namely, that he feels it should be answered, and I don’t. Needless to say these approaches are incompatible.
I just don’t like to talk on the phone. If I’m calling someone I’d generally prefer to get their answering machine; it means I get to skip all the fumbling social niceties and just get to the damn point. This is the situation, this is what I want from you, this is how you can reach me with your answer. Bam! —done in thirty seconds.
And when my phone rings, I don’t feel any particular obligation to answer it. If I’m within easy reach of the caller ID I’ll look and see who it is; most of the time it’s “Out of Area” (translation: telemarketer) and I let it ring. This aggravates my mate, who seems to feel that you’re supposed to answer the phone.
“Sometimes we do get real calls that are Out of Area.”
“That’s what the answering machine is for.”
My attitude in general is that technology exists to serve me. My television records the programs I want to watch, and I’ll get around to actually viewing them whenever it suits me. (I love Tivo.) One of my favorite things about computers is that if I wander off and get
involved with something else, it will sit right there waiting for me to come back. Even my van turns on its own headlights when I drive it at night. If the technology requires more from me than the most basic of occasional maintenance, it can go live elsewhere.
So when my phone demands attention, I don’t feel any urge to respond. Chances are I’m doing something at that particular moment, and just because someone else is free to talk to me now doesn’t mean the reverse is true. Anyone who has any business calling me about their emergency has my cell phone number; anyone else can take advantage of the wonderful recording technology afforded by my answering machine.
Which probably won’t stop my mate from giving me dark looks as he stalks in from the other end of the house to answer the phone.