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ADHD Answering Machine Blues

Yeah, I'm that old ...When I call someone, I’m not expecting an answering machine. And I often get an answering machine (Yes, I’m aware that most answering machines are actually answering services, I’m old, until last year I still had a rotary dial phone).

Kelly – speechless??

So what happens when my call is answered by a machine or answering service? I usually hang up. Why? Well, I’ve given this some thought. I dial the phone after rehearsing the script of talking to the person I’m calling. I have not rehearsed a one-sided message for an answering machine. I can’t keep two potential conversations in my mind even if one of them is one sided.

It’s a type of transition, and It flusters me

I’ve actually tried to leave a message and ended up leaving what I perceive to be a garbled mess of uninformative gibberish. On one memorable occasion of trying to leave a message, I called back 20 seconds later to clarify what I had been trying to say – I left more gibberish I think. I ended up leaving the person I was calling with the perception that I was crowding them.

Another part of this situation is that in conversation I try to take cues from the person I’m conversing with. If I get an answering machine, I can’t modify my conversation accordingly, there is no feedback.

Knowing that I don’t have this conversational crutch just serves to fluster me further. More meaningless mindless messages …

There ought to be a word for that …

It’s a chewed up bunch of misguided and de-prioratized bullet points of non-information in a soup of extra verbiage intended to elucidate yet capable only of obfuscation

So what do you call that meandering mess of blithering that is as uninformative as it is unsettling? I call it a “messtication.” It’s a chewed up bunch of misguided and de-prioratized bullet points of non-information in a soup of extra verbiage intended to elucidate yet capable only of obfuscation (I wish I could leave that on someones answering system).

How does that make you feel?

For me, messticating or leaving a messtication on someone’s answering service, is … well … flustering. It upsets me.

If I had my way, there would be no such thing as answering machines or voicemail. I’d be happy if everyone had the ability to receive texts. I can edit a text at my leisure. If I send a text without checking it first, shame on me. But when I hear “leave a message at the tone,” my mind freezes.

So sometimes, often actually, I hang up. Then I think, “They know I called, everyone has call display now. If they don’t, they can certainly punch in ‘*69’ and find out who dialed their number and wasn’t able to leave a message.”

Extreme voicemail hurdles

I have a friend whose anxiety gets amped up when she sees that someone has called but hasn’t left a message. She told me she worries about what the call was about. If the news was so bad they couldn’t leave it in her voicemail, it must have been bad.

I call her and she doesn’t answer. Her service tells me to leave a message but my anxiety won’t let me. She sees that someone called but didn’t leave a message. I know she’s anxious because she’s worrying about what I didn’t tell her and now I’m worrying about not leaving a message, I’m worrying about her worrying. We should just never use the phone at all!

Okay, that’s extreme, but I do have that friend, and we do both suffer from what I’ve described. It may be extreme, but I guess you’d say it’s an extreme friendship … that ought to be a competitive sport, don’t you think?

Less extreme voicemail hurdles  …

When I do hang up on other voicemail systems, I always have to retreat mentally, regroup and make a new plan

So I call back … after I get a new script in my head. Lord help me if they pick up when I’m expecting their answering machine … when that happens I usually just ask them “Could you just say ‘beep’ instead of hello?”

 

ADHD Answering Machine Blues


Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man


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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2012). ADHD Answering Machine Blues. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2012/04/adhd-answering-machine-blues/

 

Last updated: 11 Apr 2012
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.