I was driving down the road today and my Iphone went off…no name just a number than a voice mail soon after. I love my cell phone mostly for internet and texting I hate it for phone calls really, making them or receiving. I hate it because I think my voice sounds horrible and can only imagine what the person on the end of the phone thinks of my voice so I prefer just not…to do it. It occurred to me I miss answering machines….
Yes, I said answering machines…yes I said I miss them…they were those things that existed before cell phones and about the same times as landlines and worked in unison usually. They existed in a land long long ago…before the zombies attacked…and we were ruled by presidents from Carter to Clinton. This was long before every preeny little high school shit and now 9 year olds had cell phones (something I think is just stupid and I have to yet hear a GOOD reason why from any breeder that gets their stupid 9 year olds a cell phone).
Driving today I realized I missed the answering machines…hell even land lines and crappy caller ideas that rarely worked right. I miss them because there was something nice about coming home from school or work and seeing that red light or numbers blinking. “I wonder who called me” you asked yourself…I suppose there was something exciting about the whole ordeal in a super minimalist way….it was like a surprise.
I remember my teen years and the battles in our house in Michigan over the cordless phone with my sister and mom; who was using it, who was not and for how long the interrupted phone calls. When I wasn’t in school and working I was trying to make plans with my girlfriends so we could go out and have sex or other stuff or go out with my friends so I could help them find girlfriends to have sex with. To me back then as with any horny fat teenager that was priority over anything my little sister had going on who is 2 years younger than I am.
When I first moved to Portland in 2002 I did not have a cell phone…hell most people didn’t and if they did they were big crappy things with crappier service but EVERYONE still had a landlines…everyone had a answering machine…mostly. I remember being at work all day or out at the ocean or hiking in the mountains with my dog by Mt. Hood or along the gorge and coming home to see THAT SOMEONE HAD ACTUALLY CALLED ME. I knew absolutely no one when I first moved to Portland all those years ago…I was alone in a world still new to me. So when I got home to see I had a message on my machine on the floor (cuz I did not have a table to set it on) I was ecstatic….I knew it was from someone in Michigan…or my boss wanting to know where the fuck I was (which happened just once or twice).
There was a certain mystique too looking down at the damn thing, the blinking red numbers thinking wondering who it was…worried who it was or wasn’t….or hoping it was a voice I hadn’t heard since a few days before I left (A voice that never called by the way ever…sad face). You were either massively excited once you pressed play or incredibly let down when you heard it was just a GD telemarketer.
Now in today’s world with cell phones….there is no mystery and no excitement about who is calling you or whose not. You see their name, see their number and depending if your phone is piece of shit or not you see their face. If they are a close friend or family (like when my mother calls from Florida), you already have an idea WTF they are going to say or said in their voice mail they hopefully left you. So you’re in no rush to call them back because you already know they called…or even listen to the voice mail (I have 9 voice mails going back 3 weeks I have yet to listen too)
And you also have a list of all the people that called you recently which also inevitably reminds you of all the people who didn’t call and never do, the people you wish would call but you know they won’t…cell phones are GD depressing happiness killers.
I don’t know if landlines and answering machines were part of a “purer world” but definitely a much simpler one, a less busy one and defiantly a world that kept some sort of GD mystery in your life. It was one of the small things, that me, you and everyone else over looked at the time. The great thing about answering machines messages is that you could save them forever if you wanted too…I’m sure if I plugged my old one in now there is still 2 or 3 messages on there that are at least 6 years old…maybe ill plug it in and see.
Another odd and random thought I had during the course of the day