There are times when I actively hate some of my friends. I think it’s natural, that those we are closest to have the ability to irritate us the most, but in this case I wonder if these people act out because they actively want to irritate me, or if they’re just too dense and dumb to not fully understand their actions.

I have friends that still leave me voicemail messages.

Now, if the message were to contain important information that would take too long to text, this would be a good thing. Nine-point-nine times out of ten, however, I hear: “Hey dude, gimmie a call.”

To which I immediately think: Fuck. You.

We are not living in the Stone Age; caller ID has been standard on all phones for years and years. If I miss your call, I’ll look at my phone and say, “Hey, I missed a call from Bob.  I should dial him up!”

But when I call my voicemail, enter a password, sit through ten minutes of, “You have one (pause) new (pause) voicemail… Message received (pause) Tuesday (pause) October sixteenth (pause) at ten-oh-four pm… At the time the message was received (pause) the temperature was a balmy sixty-four degrees…” And so on and so forth, through the mess of pre-recorded computer nonsense, and then all I hear is, “Hey dude, gimmie a call…”?

Now I don’t want to talk to you. A minute ago I was excited; “Hey, it’s Bob! I haven’t talked to Bob in forever; I can’t wait to call him back!”  Now I’m pissed that you weren’t smart enough to just hang up your goddamn phone when I didn’t answer and thus made me sit through all that shit just to delete your banality.

(Yes, I am quite the intolerant bastard)

It wouldn’t be so horrible if my outgoing message didn’t specifically say: “Leave me a message if you have important information for me, otherwise I’ll just call you back.”

People ignore content, which is the problem. No one is an active participant in what’s happening around them anymore, and it’s annoying. I once sent an email to a friend that stated, “Hey, going to see a movie today at 2pm; want to meet at the theater at 1:30?”

“Sure, what time do you want to meet?” was the reply I got.

If punching my computer would have made my friend feel the sting of pain, I would have smacked my laptop right then and there.

That was not an isolated incident, limited to that one friend or that one email; I notice it constantly on social media and other areas of life; people skip over what was said to them and ask redundant questions and repeat themselves, frustrating me (and probably many others out there).

One of my best friends manages a movie theater; he laughingly complains about customers who email him to ask what time a certain movie starts. These people are right there, on the theater website, hunting down the difficult-to-find “contact” section to email a question asking information plainly stated on the home page. It boggles the mind.

Returning to my voicemail problem, the only person allowed to leave me messages is my mother. As she is technologically challenged, she still believes she’s talking to my college-era answering machine, and her messages can be hilarious: “Nathan? (pause; more hesitantly) Nathan? (pause, now angrily) Goddammit, I know you’re probably screening this, pick up your phone!”

God bless her. I’m saving those messages for the nursing home confirmation hearings.

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