Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Voicemail Message Meddler

You know what annoys the hell out of me? When you’re leaving a message on someone’s voicemail, and in the middle of a perfectly normal and uneventful message, the phone suddenly cuts you off and you hear this:

“If you would like to send this message, press 1. To continue recording, press 2. To erase and re-record, press 3.”

I will now address each sucky option one by one.

1. It goes without saying that I do not want to send a message that I was in the middle of recording. Does the Message Meddler who cut me off really think that my husband wants to hear, “I need to talk to you immediately: there is something terribly wrong with ----“ And even if there was not important info to convey, I’d like to think my messages have a structure, a certain unfolding aspect, and I don’t want to end my message opus in the middle of the second act, for crying out loud.

2. The most expeditious option would appear to be “continue recording” but there is a problem with that too. Once the Message Meddler has rambled on and on explaining my various options, I have no friggin’ idea where I left off speaking. If the phone would play back the last five seconds of your message and allow you access to your train of thought, then that would be a viable plan. But I’m getting on in years, folks, and I no longer have total recall.

3. I always end up taking the third option. The worst part of the third option is that when the voicemail cuts me off and drops the not-so-subtle hint that I might want to consider erasing and re-recording, I realize what a lousy message I was leaving. I am actually embarrassed, like the Message Meddler is a real person who has heard me record this bumbling, redundant message, riddled with, “yeah, so , , “ and “ummmmm, OK , , , “ ending with “God, this is a really long message.” Whenever you realize, mid-message, that you are leaving an overly lengthy message and then feel that it will improve the message to further prolong the misery by stating this out loud, that’s when you know you’ve botched things up badly. And I can’t help feeling that the Message Meddler is thinking, “I can’t in good conscience allow this woman to leave this train wreck of a message to burden someone’s voicemail,” so she aborts mission and offers me another shot.

So I press 3, collect myself and get right to the point. I am precise, communicating succinct nuggets of information with small doses of humor and pizzaz. The second time around, I leave brilliant messages. In point of fact, it would probably be best if the phone always cut me off and offered me a re-do. But the thing is, I wouldn’t have even realized what a crappy message I was leaving if the phone hadn’t made it a federal case. Ignorance is bliss.

Am I the only one who is driven to total neuroticism and self-flagellation by the voicemail cutoff? Or maybe I’m the only one it happens to? Does the Message Meddler leave all you people alone?