Stop calling me on the phone

Texting, obviously the best form of communication.

Texting, obviously the best form of communication. Photo: Getty

Most people - normal, well-adjusted people - react to the sound of a ringing phone by thinking, "Oh, I should probably get that." When I hear my phone ring, I react with hostility and disbelief. "How dare they?" I think. "How dare someone call me without emailing or sending an SMS first?"

Soon, those feelings give way to panic. Questions rush through my head, like: Am I in trouble? Has something terrible happened?

Who's died? For the love of god, what mysterious and malevolent phantom awaits me on the other end of this unlisted number - "Hello?"

Sometimes I'll be lucky and the ringing will have stopped by the time I run through all the scenarios. If a minute passes and there's no sign of a voicemail, I'm so happy. There was a time when the telephone was considered wondrous in its capacity to bring people together, but we have the internet for that now.

Advertisement

Of all our communication options, phones are the most demanding. They're like newborns, screeching to be picked up - even if you're on the toilet, it doesn't matter - attend to me now.

People are often confused about phone etiquette, so here are my rules: (1) Need a response within a few days? Send an email. (2) Know the person and need a quick reply? Shoot off an SMS. (3) Workshopping a niggling problem (vomiting offspring) or experiencing a crisis (can't decide on sandwich) and need an immediate response? Use the phone. And finally, if you're not a close friend or family member and you call me after 5pm, I reserve the legal right to murder you.

Or you could just copy my friend Jake's voicemail greeting: "Hello.

You've reached Jake. I don't like the phone and rarely check voicemail, so please email me at the following address ..."