Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quirky Communication

It's funny how our means of communication have changed over the years. I think the last time I sent a personally hand written letter, was 1999. It's too bad. I actually like getting letters. Even emails are great.

The problem with email is that it's gotten so common and quick, that the whole "charm" of letter writing, where each person writes a bunch of paragraphs before sending the letter off, has become lost! Instead, each email is like three sentences and a question, to which I'll respond to the question, say something witty, and ask something back. Emails are basically a long, drawn out phone conversations now.

And speaking of long and drawn out, have you noticed how long it takes to leave someone a voicemail these days? I was just calling someone yesterday, and I seriously could've had our entire conversation in the time that it took for me to eventually hear the "beep" and leave my message.

First, there's the greeting: "Hi this is Arun, I'm busy blogging right now about how idiocally long it takes to leave a phone message, but leave me a message and I'll get back to you."

Then we have the lovely young robot lady who won't shutup: "At the the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording, you may hang up or press '1' for more options. To leave a callback number press 2, otherwise stay on the line and record your message."

Seriously, this recording drives me crazy. I don't need to hear EVERY option EVERY time I want to leave a message! It's like having 10 pop-up windows come up everytime you want to send an email, telling you about all of the wonderful options you have about email signatures, priority, receiver receipts etc, and then instructions on how to hit the "send" button. I just want to leave a Dad-Gum message!

I do find it amusing though, when people feel the need to leave instructions on their voicemail about HOW to leave a message. "Leave a message AFTER THE BEEP and I'll call you back!" This made sense about 18 years ago when answering machines first came out, but I'm fairly certain everyone knows the procedure for WHEN to start talking into the phone and leave a message.

I think my family first got an answering machine when I was about seven or eight. It consisted of two cassettes, one for the greeting, and the other for recording the message. To listen to the messages, you'd have to hit the rewind button and guess where to stop and play the tape.

Rewind. Play. Not far enough.
Rewind. Play. Oops, went too far! Fast Forward, Play.

And when answering machines first came out, people would get confused. "Hello? Helloooooo? Arun? What's going on?...(confusedly hanging up the phone)"

Busy signals are also a thing of the past. I don't think I've heard a busy signal in like 10 years.

The one thing I do find annoying is when I leave a phone message, and I get a text message reply in return. Ok. There is a reason I CALLED you! Now, instead of a nice quick, personal conversation, I'm now forced into hours of texting a conversation that would have otherwise been short and sweet. And these new phones with built in keyboards aren't helping matters either.

Texting DOES however even the playing field for those of us who are slightly less witty. I pride myself on being quick witted, but with texting, you can be "slow-witted" but still sound pretty charming. You have tons of time to now come up with clever one-liners! If you can't be funny with texts, you might be a lost cause...

Texting CAN be very useful. It's especially awesome for those people you meet, with whom you haven't yet bonded quite on the "phone call level" but a little text is quite harmless.

Texting is a happy medium between a nice phone conversation and never talking to someone again.

In fact, I've ramped up relationships that started as emails, then moved up the ladder to texts, and finally made the leap up to phone calls!

Major Progress, I know.

Overall there's absolutely no moral and nothing remotely intelligent really gained from reading today's post. It's more or less a good ol' fashioned rant. I suppose you probably like ME more for my keen sense of observation and social acumen! (and if you don't, you're welcome to keep to yourself :)

One final note. Yesterday, I was chatting with the barista at a coffee shop in Pacific Beach. It turns out they post the daily horoscopes from the Tribune in front of the counter, so we were reading ours and seeing how accurate they were. She was a Leo, and the horoscope prescribed integrating more "love" into her life or something.

Lucky for her she was chatting with the "Love Doctor."

I'm a Virgo. Mine said something like, "You NEED to lift your confidence. Love Yourself. Look in the mirror and like what you see!"

Seriously? I don't know who writes these things, but obviously they don't know me :)

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