You. Have. Five. New. Messages
To listen to your messages -
I stab the appropriate number on the keypad and listen, rapt, pen poised, for the messages to follow.
First. New. Message. Received. Today. At. One. Thirty. Eight. P. M.
Second. New. Message. Received. Today. At. One. Forty. Nine. P. M.
“ – no one ever bloody answers the phone…[rustle]
And. So. On.
What is this strange problem that so many people seem to have with answerphones? On any given day, when I pick up my messages, I can be sure of at least one, often more, consisting of ambient background noise and a distant voice moaning about the fact that it's an answerphone. Often the information they seek is contained within my outgoing message, which gives details of our opening times and an alternative number to call should my office be unstaffed. Sadly, human nature being what it is, it appears that as soon as they hear my dulcet tones explaining that “I’m sorry, but there’s no one here to take your call at the moment” they launch into the “it’s a sodding answerphone” tirade, and miss all the salient information. The tail ends of these grumblings are often captured as amusing and entertaining answerphone messages for me to replay and enjoy later.
Some of my volunteers are equally as unwilling to commit their voices to my telephonic recording device. Many’s the time I have answered the phone to be met with “At last! An actual person! I’ve been phoning and phoning and all I ever get is that blasted answerphone!”
“Oh,” I reply, “you should have left a message, and I’d have called you back”.
But, no. They don’t like talking to those things. Rather than brave it with a few choice words – “It’s Derek, can you call me back?” - they instead call a dozen times, becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed at my failure to sit by the phone 24/7 and then berate me when they finally do get the pleasure of my company.
The absolute mistress of the craft is my mother, though. She will listen to my entire outgoing message and wait for the beep, just to leave a disappointed sigh on my answerphone. It is most eloquent.