I absolutely loath and despise leaving voicemails, really in general, but most especially to people that I haven't known for at least five years. Throw the life of a potential dating situation in the mix and I cannot muster up the words to do justice to how I feel about the whole voicemail experience: despicable and evil are just two words that come to mind.
I know this is probably hard to believe considering my usual mastery of our language and my ability to think on my feet. This whole thing sounds ridiculous coming from a Communications major who learned for four years how to express herself and communicate effectively in all forms of media. But, voicemail is like some sick private version of public speaking. No matter how much I think I'm prepared, I always end up wishing I could rewind, delete and start over. I can imagine the recipient on the other end playing it back for friends, at dinner parties full of adults who can speak properly in any situation, laughing over my sentence slop. I have four whole rings and at least twenty seconds to prepare for the dreaded beep. By ring three, I can feel the ball of nerves growing like a Venus fly-trap in my gut, ready to ruthlessly devour any sensible or adult-type sentences that I intended to come out of my mouth. But, in all fairness to my educated and usually expressive mind, through most of the ringing, I'm preparing for the Pick-Up. If the person I'm attempting to reach actually answers the phone, I can't go with a brief, "Hey! Thought I'd try to catch you!" style conversation. You know, because I caught them. I have to have more going for me than a clever way to say that I'm not (admitting to) sitting by the phone tonight but would really appreciate it if they called me back.
After I leave the voicemail and quickly hang up, I start second guessing myself. Did I say my name? Did I say their name? Did I say the right name? Did I sound too eager? Did I sound too nonchalant? Wait...did I repeat myself? Does "Call me tomorrow at this specified time" sound too demanding? Am I neurotic? Should I call back and leave another one? If I had stayed on the line, would it have let me review and resend? What phone carrier offers that service? Should I just calm down? YES! The answer is very obviously yes.
Don't get me wrong, I'm never this overly critical of voicemails that I receive. You could literally be a blumbering idiot on my voicemail, and I'd probably chuckle, think it was cute and call you back immediately. I love getting voicemails, although I check them pretty infrequently (so bare that in mind), to no one's discredit, I think it's a remnant from my days as a prepaid wireless customer (yeah, voicemail minutes counted too!).
|"My name is Chris Hanson..."|