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I stared at the familiar voicemail symbol on the face of my phone. Next to it, a tiny number “6” sat, mocking me. I rolled my eyes. I hate checking voicemail. The only time I find it useful is if an unknown number calls me. I don’t pick up most unknown calls. They are usually not for me. You see, I changed my phone number to a new area code, and apparently the guy who had the phone number before me was named Darrell. How do I know this? Everyone in the entire state of my new area code has been calling me asking for Darrell. Some are repeat offenders, who happen to be elderly, and just don’t get the fact that if my message says, “Hi, this is Caitlin…” that means Darrell will not be returning their call.

I dialed my voicemail, and pressed the speaker phone button. This is what I heard:

That strangely robotic young woman: “You have (pause) SIX new messages.” (Why was she screaming at me?) “First message, sent Monday, November eighth, at eleven-oh-nine AM”

-Husband: “Hey baby, just wondering if you paid the electric bill today. Love you. Okay, ‘bye.”  Well, obviously I’ve talked to my husband since this voice message. Electric bill was paid last week. I firmly pressed “7” to delete.

That eery voice again: “Next message. Sent…”

-Mom: “Hi sweetie, it’s Mom. I haven’t talked to you…” I pressed “7” to delete. Mom and I talked since this voice message. In fact, I called her back right after she called.

Woman: “Next message. Sent…”

-Unidentified voice: “Hello, this is Rachel with Jared’s jewelers calling to let you know your order is in…” I cut her off by firmly pressing the “7” again. I missed the call from a local number, and before I even knew Rachel left a message, I had already called the number back.

Woman: “Next message. Sent…”

Unidentified caller: …strange noises… squishing sounds, “Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” swoosh swish swoosh swish swoosh swish… I scoffed at my phone and hit “7”. Clearly someone’s pocket accidentally dialed me.

Woman: “Next message. Sent…”

Man: “Hi, um… This message is for Darrell…” “777777777777777777777777777”. I couldn’t hit the 7 fast enough of hard enough.

I asked myself why I was wasting my time listening to these messages. And you know what? I didn’t really have an answer.

From now on, I’m going to rely on my caller ID. So a word to the wise: don’t leave me a message, unless my phone goes straight to voicemail when you call me. Otherwise, I probably saw your number pop up on my screen, and I’ll call you back later. I have an extreme inability to check voicemail promptly, and you’re better off just hanging up if I don’t answer.

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