Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Leave a Message after the Beep

There's an art to leaving a voicemail. Depending on who the person is in relation to you, the reason you're calling, how busy they are, when you're going to see them next, when you saw them last, how frequently you see them.... you get the point.

I used to be that guy who would leave the most discombobulated voicemails ever. Worse, I would apologize at the end of the voicemail for how horrendous the message was. It was bad. Some people were amused and thought it was "cute" (not the adjective I'm looking for my voicemails to be described as), others not as amused.

As it turns out, I'm getting better in specific circumstances. My cousin called me and I missed his call. This cousin hasn't called me in probably around 5 years, if not more. He's 6 or 7 years older than me, married with, er, 2 kids (around that anyway), living in a different city, and incredibly busy. It doesn't help that I have 400 cousins (ok, 70-80). It also doesn't help that I'm busy.

So, when he called, I was flattered that he thought to call me, annoyed that I missed him, and traumatized that I couldn't take him up on his incredibly thoughtful offer that was time sensitive.

When I called him back, a few moments ago, it went to voicemail. Shucks. Now what? How do you impart your feelings when there's no response to what you're saying?

Well, I think I acquitted myself quite nicely. Not that I'll know until I speak to him, but I covered all the points I wanted to make and did so in a succinct fashion.

It was a great feeling realizing that something I had been so horrible at in years past, was something that I had managed to work on and improve.

What was even more amazing about the feeling was that I had actively worked on improving my leaving messages skills better and not seen any results until today.

It's always been hard for me to apply the idea that water droplets can wear down a stone as a way to work on middos. Thanks to something as simple as leaving a voicemail, I can see just how applicable it is.

"Sometimes life gives us lessons sent in ridiculous packaging."~ Dar Williams (whoever that is)


  1. You should have heard me once on the phone. It was like a Michael Bay movie, shrapnel everywhere.

    If we make a point to focus on it, we have no choice but to get better.

    1. Haha! Great simile!

      True, though it can take forever for us to actually notice that we've gotten better. That's what impressed me- was how long it took and how subtly it happened.