Do You Answer Your Phone?

Our phone rang 5 times last night between 8:30 and 10.  Neither of us so much as twitched. "Why do people call us?" I asked Blair. "We hate talking on the phone."

I remember being young and dropping everything when the phone rang. These were in the days before Caller Id or even answering machines. If you missed the call, you missed out.

"I'll get it! I'll get it!" came the cry from me, my sister and my parents as we thundered out of our rooms and down the hall, racing for the ringing phone. Injuries weren't unheard of in our race to the receiver. It also wasn't uncommon for the caller on the other hand to hear: "Hello?" followed by a second family member saying, "Hello?" and if they were really lucky, a third breathless, "Hello?" from a latecomer to the phone.

And God help you if you were in the bathroom or outside when the phone rang. Toilet paper was grabbed with a quick flush as you held your pants around your waist and waddled out to the phone. Or gardening shears were tossed in the air as you yelled at the phone, "Hold on! I'm coming!"

I think answering machines and Caller ID have desensitized us. While I appreciate Caller Id's ability to screen out 1-800 or 888 numbers, I find I really don't screen my calls. Instead I just ignore the phone, safe in my knowledge that the person can either leave a message or I can check the screen later to see who it was. Unlike childhood, there is no more excitement when the phone rings...we just turn the volume up on the TV until the person finishes leaving a message.

It's rude, I know. Plus counterproductive. Better to take the call when it comes in and be done with it. Now I have guilt hanging over my head that I have 3 phone calls to return today.

All I know is those people on the other end better pick up.