Apparently, the technology and procedures involved in today’s voice mail is far too complicated, so out of the goodness of my heart, I thought I would offer a detailed tutorial on how to use it.
Step 1: When you have called someone and reached their voice mail instead of a live person, wait for the tone, and then leave a message. This message should include your name, why you called, a callback number, and the date and time that you called. You can skip on any of these details as appropriate.
Step 2: Wait for a return phone call.
That’s it. Really.
Step 2 is the key here, of course. Note that it does not say, “Continue to call repeatedly over the next several hours or days, leaving an identical message every time.” This creates a sense of urgency, perhaps even emergency, which is not helpful to the listener. Particularly when, upon finally reaching you, the listener discovers that your message was, “Oh, we just wanted to let you know that your ultrasound results were normal and you can keep taking the Clomid.”
My mother-in-law could benefit from this same tutorial. She likes to leave multiple messages but not tell us how we should try to contact her; I don’t have her cell phone number and she screens her home phone, so reaching her voice mail is not necessarily a signal that she is out of town. (Though, now that I think of it, the tutorial my mother-in-law is more likely to benefit from is, “What to do when your son changes his phone number and doesn’t tell you.”)
Anyway, though, the voice mail thing. It’s not that complicated, truly! Leave a message, just once, and then stop calling. Trust the machine to do its job; the beauty of voice mail is that it just waits right where you left it until the other person comes along to play it.
I’m open to questions if this is too confusing.