Leaving someone a voicemail message on someone’s cell phone in 2011 is not only misguided, it’s selfish. It’s difficult to think of a situation in which leaving a voicemail is necessary because, well, it’s not.
Pretty much any cell phone that was made within the last decade has caller ID and text messaging capabilities, so even the people you know with the most dated mobile devices are able to see instantly that they missed your call and ring you back. Of course none of this applies to landlines and office phones, but who even has either one of those things anymore?
Here’s my theory: Voicemail messages are rarely for the person on the receiving end of the message, they are for the comfort and security of the individual making the call. Our abuse of this system with messages like, “Hey, I called you, call me back,” has made pressing “1” on your phone and entering your password a chore.
It’s only the most needy and annoying people that say things like, “Hey, your voicemail is full, I called you,” via text message. Why don’t they use that very text message to inform me of what they were calling about instead of berating me for not wanting to listen to a solid sixty-second recording of a one-sided conversation? It’s because they need their feelings fellated and whoops! I’m no one’s therapist.
Last week this dude that used to be some sort of like, romantic interest or something, attempted to call me while I was in the shower. Upon hearing that my voicemail box was full (it has been since 2006,) he sent me a string of text messages saying things like, “Your voicemail is full, you should take care of that,” and “I can’t believe you have a full voicemail box, that’s so unprofessional,” to which I responded, “Screw you, don’t tell me how to live my life. What did you need?”
I don’t know if I ever found out why he was calling, but I know that it turned into one of the most ridiculous arguments that I’ve entertained in recent history. He kept demanding that I clean out my voicemail box, and I kept telling him that I’m not interested in speaking with anyone who doesn’t understand why I think voicemail is rude.
I explained to him that the only people who leave me voicemail messages are my mother (whom I speak to regularly, but is always all worked up because I came out of her vagina and live 3000 miles away,) creditors who I can’t afford to pay (I’ll get to you when I have money, Sue! Go fuck yourself! Is it not obvious that I’m not the kind of person who’s planning on NEVER paying you back, Sue?) and drunk exes desperate to get some sort of emotional reaction out of me.
After twenty minutes of arguing back and forth, I cleaned out my voicemail box to shut him up. He broke me. I can be broken. I didn’t listen to any of the five-year-old messages as I deleted them, I just kept pressing “7” until it said there were none left. I rerecorded my outgoing message to say, “Hi! You’ve reached Molly McAleer! I don’t listen to voicemail, so please text me or email me!” I even spelled out my email address, because HEY! If you have the balls to leave me a message, you should have to listen to mine first.
Later that evening, after taking my dog out for a walk without my phone, I saw that I had a missed call from the same dude, and ready? I also had one new voicemail message, because obviously he doesn’t respect me.
That message will sit on my phone for all eternity or until I can afford an assistant, who’s first job will be to listen to the time capsule of selfish assholes and needy whiners I’ve known in my life.