Don’t Call Me!

Oct 02

Things Change

Remember, fellow females (and there’s one oxymoron I can live with), when we were warned never to “wait by the telephone” for HIM to call?
And, sacre bleu!  We would never ever ever call him first!

Then that changed

If you wanted to talk to him, you went right ahead and dialed his number. And you certainly had it.

If you got a recorded message, you tried to say something pithy or witty: it was a wise woman who practiced these “off the cuff” comments before actually placing the call.

For a while there, no one seemed to answer their phones, so when you got a “live one,” literally or figuratively, it often took you by surprise, so it paid to have an opening line at the ready.

Then Things Changed Even More

We got texting. And sexting, but that’s another story and, possibly, another blog.
You could reach out to the object of your affection (or rejection) with a few words typed rapidly (or not so rapidly) by your very own fickle fingers of fate. SpellCheck, by the way, is not your friend, in case you haven’t noticed, and your messages can sometimes read like hieroglyphics or something you heard on the proverbial Beatles recording played backwards.

Nevertheless, it’s rare that someone doesn’t return a text, if only with an emoji, so at least communication is established. But to what end? Often texts go back and forth so many times that it would have been so much easier and faster to communicate telephonically. Some people so resist the idea of phoning that I have been reduced to pleading: “Do you want this to go on all day, or can we have a 2-minute phone call and resolve the damn thing?” This ploy usually works, but not always.

BTW: Even before the advent of texting, there were always people who hated the telephone. Not I! Chatting away with a drink at hand was a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine, especially when avoiding something else. Like work.

Then Things Really Changed

But all this is a thing of the past.

(The past comes up faster and faster these days, haven’t you noticed?)

There’s new phone etiquette, and you all better listen up.


Can You Pass The Text Test?

The first (and perhaps only) rule of this new world of communicating is that if you plan to use the (Gasp!) telephone, you must always text first, and never ever leave a voice mail. So says the Washington Post, Fox News, and Thomas Farley, AKA Mister Manners. Take your pick: that about covers the waterfront, as we used to say. In the olden days.

Nowadays, we must be careful about covering our rear ends, watching what we say, and not, god forfend, annoying anyone with a phone call—or even worse, a phone message!

The only exception seems to be when dealing with a real emergency. To be clear as a bell: What to do about that cute guy in HR who may be married but is hanging around your cubicle is not a real emergency.

But if you actually have one, you may call, although it’s still advisable to text first. You’re more likely to get the person’s attention that way. Because people are constantly checking their texts and usually avoiding their phone calls.  Some people actually like this. They are called The Young.

I Have My Own Rules

Don’t FaceTime me without a 10-minute warning. I have been caught just out of the shower, or with a green masque slathered on my face, and in other states of disarray equally not ready for prime time anything.

And for that matter, I’d like to reinstate my old rule of never calling me before 10 AM. You can text, but I’ll probably ignore it. These days, I’m probably up, but I’ll be doing the Spelling Bee or Wordle, and need this intellectual stimulation before I can face making any other decisions, however simple they may appear on the surface. Trust me, nothing is simple. Or, as our office motto (which we lifted from the grimy wall of a bathroom in a saloon) said so well:
“Live is no easy.”

If you have any questions about all these new rules . . . Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

And if it’s after 10 AM,  I’ll text first.


  1. Louise /

    I LIKE to get phone calls. Just like the old days. Guess I’m a dinosaur but don’t want to change.

    • Actually, I do too. I was being a bit facetious about how all these “rules” about what to do keep changing. Next week, we’ll be told not to text and only communicate with Instagram. Or notes in a bottle. Or carrier pigeon. Good thing I have an accessible roof on my building, although I doubt that the board would approve a coop of any kind.

  2. Diana /

    Oh eek. I’ve lost my Live is No Easy pillow. Please text if you find it.
    If you’re thinking of a holiday gift…

    • I’ll check Etsy. It should also be on a post-in by the front door.
      In case you forget.

  3. Irene /

    I just wanted to tell you how much I like your newsletter. It makes me giggle, which is a nice way to start the day.

  4. All giggles gratefully accepted!

  5. Nancy L. /

    Here’s one more rule to add to the list: text before calling. It’s odd but true.

  6. I couldn’t access the WAP article.
    Anyone know what the yet another rule is?

  7. Looking into the past (well at least the parts my memory tells me), I thought voicemail was a great invention. But some people left rambling messages. If you are a “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” fan, do you remember a big prize was getting a personalized message for your voicemail/answering machine?
    I’ll still wait for the beep.

  8. Does Wait Wait still do that? If so, who would I
    pick . . . I’ll get back to you on that.

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