I’m sitting in traffic. Not real traffic. Buffalo, NY traffic, just east of the international airport. Look, there’s a strip club. The secrets boutique is now open. There’s a woman driving a mini-van in the lane to my left. I am moving while she is not. As I pass I hear that she’s making a phone call. More precisely I hear that she’s getting someone’s voicemail.
“You have reached the voice mail box of…”
Which is when she hangs up. Because she doesn’t want to leave a voicemail. She wants to talk. But they didn’t answer. And now she’s bummed. Sometimes you really want to talk with someone but they don’t answer.
Which is when I go to work.
I enjoy leaving voicemails. I find it therapeutic. And entertaining. I prefer the messages that I leave to be a good deal imaginative. Sometimes they’re brisk. Other times honest. When they get awkward, and they often do get awkward, I lean into the awkwardness. It’s good clean fun.
My friend Andrew has two passions in life. Asphalt and leaving voicemails. He leaves me some real doozies. So does my buddy, J.D. Campbell by way of St. Louis. (The J stands for Jordache. The D, for Diamond. Ask to see his birth certificate.) Then there’s Joe. His are the most uplifting. Baxter Swenson prefers the written word. And TJ (which stands for Trouble Junior) just waits until I answer.
Texting has it’s merits. I’m having a good time there as well. But there’s something to be said for hearing the voice of another. Even if it’s telling you something you could be reading instead. I also appreciate that voicemail requires a little patience. It makes it virtuous in my book.
So next time you’re in traffic and they don’t answer, leave them a gift in their voice mailbox.
Word on the street is that you’re a generous giver.