Sunday, March 17, 2013

Would E.T. Phone Home Today, Or Just Text?

From today's Times and News-Star

I try to return all my missed phone calls and text messages, simply out of fascination that anyone would want to contact me.

But like you, I can’t always return the call or message Right Then. This is bad because people will begin to worry about you if you don’t get back in touch with them Right Then.

When the phone of your youth went unanswered in your house – it probably hang and rang from the hall or the kitchen; central location was key – people did not worry when you didn’t call them back Right Then. They figured you were gone or just Away From The Phone. It was a simpler time.

But today, you are never Away From The Phone. These modern days, we are about as mobile as the air itself. And most of us have a phone. I mean, you need a phone. But you do not need me to tell you that this is both a blessing and a curse.

For starters, we feel as if we must give a reason these days as to why we didn’t answer.

“I tried to call and you didn’t answer.”

“I’m sorry. I was getting a kidney transplant.”

“Oh, OK. Well, can I borrow your rake?”

Used to, you didn’t need an explanation. You were just Away From The Phone. That covered it all, everything from a nap to a hysterectomy.

But today? Nowhere to run to baby, no place to hide.

Not everyone panics. Guys, in general, don’t worry if a guy doesn’t answer. We have a strict Phone Code we don’t mind sharing with you; we feel it might help.

If I’ve missed a call and the guy didn’t leave a message, I might call back and might not. By not leaving a message, he is telling me he had a window to talk Right Then and might not be able to talk when I call back but that it was not timely or important for Right Then anyway. If I don’t call back, he does not think I’ve been kidnapped.

Phone Code. No harm, no foul.

Now, if he leaves a message, I listen and then attempt to honor whatever request it was, or simply am thankful for the information. This is very important: this message device will not work if you do not listen to your messages. Young people are not big on message listening because they don’t understand that it actually saves time.

“Did you listen to your message?”


“Well then why do you have a recording telling me to leave a message?”

“Well I just thought I’d call you back.”

“And make me say my message again?”

Let technology work for you! I call it the ol’ Leave and Listen Code: leave a message if needed, listen to your message if you get one.

People used to listen to messages when we had those recorders by the phone at home. There’s a technology that went by fast, right? Those answering machines are rare today, but so are home phones, or “landlines.”

But with people texting while driving or taking calls during the movies or even in church (we answer the bell on these subjects next week before getting off the phone), are the landlines really gone?

They aren’t. The phantom phone still hangs in the kitchen and we’ve allowed the cord, though now invisible, to knot and twist around us, to follow us wherever we go.

The phone’s a great invention. But sometimes, we should cut the cord.