Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Call Of The Wild

I noticed some odd behavior today.  The fact that it happened TWICE means I had to blog about it.

Have we, as a collective society, forgotten that voicemail exists anymore?

I was in the bathroom today at work -- admittedly, a fairly private place where conversations are usually short and awkward.  At least for guys; I can't speak for women.  Nobody really wants to have (or feels comfortable having) a detailed conversation when ... well, you get the idea.

So today, I was washing my hands, when some guy's cell phone rang while he was on the toilet.

The guy answered his cell phone.  While on the can.  And then he had a brief, exceedingly awkward conversation that went something like, "Hey, Joe ...  Yeah, I'm, uh, indisposed ... Look, I can't talk right now.  Can I call you back in 2 or 3 minutes?"

A few hours later, I was back in the bathroom -- a different one this time -- and some guy is standing at the urinal, when HIS phone rings.  And he answers his cell phone.  This is particularly frightening because at least one hand is already engaged in a fairly important activity.  "Jerry, I'm gonna have to call you back, OK?"

Twice?  In the bathroom?  On the same day?  Really?

Given the existence, reliability, and price (free) of voicemail, AND the existence of Caller ID on almost every cell phone in the world today, I find this behavior completely illogical.  I've noticed hundreds of people doing while in line in Starbucks, or in a crowded hallway, or paying for something at the checkout line, or while driving, or in a meeting, or while engaging in a whole host of other activities when it's not really appropriate or convenient to talk.  BUT THAT'S WHY THEY INVENTED VOICEMAIL!!!

And now with Google Voice, which will send you a text message or e-mail of your transcribed voice message, it is that much easier to just hit the "ignore" button to silence your phone if you don't want it to keep ringing.  And with caller ID, you already know who's calling you.  And yet -- people still feel compelled to answer the phone and be their own voicemail.

I just don't get it.  Does anyone out there have a rational explanation for this behavior?

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