Archive | February 9, 2021

Answering machine? Home line? What’s that?

I wrote this post in December 2019. Just found it while looking through my drafts.

This post starts with a mystery.

A message was left in my home line answering machine. The caller asked for me by a diminutive form of my name; a form that I used when at high school or one usually used by men when I introduce myself in my full name. You know like Suzanne to Susie! Or Jennifer to Jenny. Or Catherine to Cathy.

(Why it is usually men who use a diminutive form? Recently I was tempted to call a man Stevie who continually used the diminutive version of my name. He calls himself Steve, introduces himself as such and signs his emails the same. I introduced myself with my full name and use the full version in emails. He heard everyone else call me by the full version. Yet he persisted with the -y or -ie version of my name. This is one of the mysteries of this post. Not the main mystery. So let’s return to the answering machine.)

The message left a name of which I had no recollection. And said, very conversationally, “Long time no speak.”

“So what’s the mystery?’ you ask.

Well, who leaves messages on answering machines these days?

And who was this person?

I did what any sensible person did.

No, I didn’t call right back.

I Googled the name. It didn’t help. The name came up as a rural reporter. Was she responding to a tweet I posted? One in which I heavily criticised the state government which is my employer? That would be very paranoid of me.

Had she moved media employers and was trying to contact me about a workplace issue where a parent had threatened to go to the media?

There was a couple of Google results that had same name as a dodgy sounding charity. Was it a marketer, trying to sound conversational?

I turned to FaceBook. No help there.

I used Reverse Australia to see where the landline was based. And then did a street view search on Google maps to see if it was a home or a business. All looked like a private dwelling.

I discussed it with a friend who shared my thoughts that this was strange. (Not my searching. That’s not strange. No, the message was strange.)

After exhausting all search techniques, I returned the call. Turns out she was looking for an old school friend. I was not that friend. We just had the same first name.

Several years ago we would get lots of messages on our answering machine. There’d be no mystery. We’d return the call. Or not.

Now the only people who phone our home line are:

  • My mother
  • Telemarketers
  • An old friend of Mr S who persists in being without mobile or any social media

I’d get rid of the home line except it comes with the internet package.

Anyone who wants to contact me sends a text or a message or a video chat or an email.

Do you still have a land line? Do you use it?

Would you have phoned back? Immediately or when you had time? Would you have searched the net first?