Couch Cat: You didn’t call me back!

04 October 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
Facing modern times means having a smart phone as an extension to our hands.  It is an integral part of our life.  These days there is a ‘new etiquette’ for using cell phones.
  This is something that should be added to the list.  People who get so annoyed when they call me and I don’t drop everything I am doing to either answer their call or call them back, need to chill out. 
They call at 10 am and call again at 11 am and are annoyed that I didn’t call them back. Goodness!  Give me a break.  The world won’t stop just because I do not answer your call or call you back. 
At times, I get irritated words from people who are annoyed because I did not call them back according to THEIR timeline.  I push back on that criticism with the truth.  There are times when I am engaged and cannot be on the phone.
I prefer for people to send me a quick and short text message where I can more easily read what you want even if I am in a meeting.  This way, when I do get back to you, I already have the information you want.
I don’t call back after dark or when it is meal time.  I am sensitive to people’s need to be ‘at home’ and relaxed.  I rarely call anyone on a Sunday.  That is a day of rest.
I wonder at the people who use a private number to call you and then complain when you don’t call them back.  How could I possibly call back when I don’t know who called me?  I admit that I rarely answer ‘private number’ calls.  If this person has my number, why shouldn’t I have theirs?
Also, for companies and government offices out there please take note.  The cell phone only records the first few digits of your number on ‘recent’ calls.  How can I call back with a partial number?
I won’t answer if I am driving.  None of us should.  Even if you have a hands-free cell phone thing going on, phone conversations are a distraction.  It only takes a split second of divided attention to have an accident. 
We should be incommunicado for outsiders when we are with our loved ones.  I usually turn the ringer off when I need to give my attention to private matters.
At the office, we are being paid to WORK, not to talk on the phone.  If I am writing, in a meeting or being creative and cannot be interrupted, I won’t call you back at that moment or even answer your phone call.  But, I will get back to you when I can.
If I am in the bathroom, I will never answer my phone or call someone.  There are people who do answer phones while they are on the toilet.  Hearing ‘odd’ things and toilets flushing in the background is really not very nice.  
I don’t think that anyone should drop everything they are doing to answer my call or return my call at all costs.  I am ok with them getting back to me when they get a chance.  Then, I know I have their full attention.  It is so annoying when people take my call only to tell me they cannot talk to me right then.  Why answer the call?!
If you don’t hear from me at that very moment you call, why would you see that as a personal insult?  It is not.  It is just my life vs your life.  My life usually wins out. Barring a life-or-death emergency, chill out.  I care that you called and I’ll get back to you as I can.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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