There are ways of keeping you from making me talk [to you].
It is a concept as old as the Earth itself, yet it continues to reinvent itself as technology expands and develops. From way back in the old days when cavemen roamed the planet for sustinence, if one caveman didn’t want to talk to another cavemen, but didn’t want to totally ruin the relationship for fear of someday needing to talk to them for some reason, what would caveman #1 do? Instead of tracking him down in the green field just past the wooded forest on the edge of the cliff to talk in person, caveman #1 would find a dark cave, scribble something on the wall like, “Want to talk, hope you’re well, I’ve got a wood splinter in my foot, find me soon…” and he wouldn’t have to physically talk to him if he didn’t want to.
It was the most ancient form of avoiding people by leaving a message.
These days, giving acquaintances the feeling that you’re attempting to talk to them, without actually having to talk to them is an art form. In Hollywood there are producers who are known for their talents at leaving voice mail messages before 7AM PST and then being unavailable when the call is returned. They then return the call again, during lunchtime, further avoiding having to actually talk to the person who wants to talk to them.
And now, with e-mail and voice mail and answering machines and text messaging and carrier pigeons (the cool, new hi-tech carrier pigeons, that is), if you don’t want to talk to someone but you don’t want to burn a bridge but you don’t want to hear someone’s grating voice but you don’t want them to know it — it’s as simple as leaving a message saying:
“Oh, man! I missed you again! I know we’ve been playing phone tag and I totally hope all is well with you and everything’s great — try me back. We must connect!”
But you will never connect. You will never find out if all is well. If I never want to talk to you for the rest of my life, all I have to do is leave you a phone message on your voice mail.
I am well aware that by putting this information in digital-print, that I am opening myself up to ridicule and annoyed friends who are now wondering if, when I leave a message on their cell phones, that it is my shrouded and sneaky way of telling them I like them just enough to communicate by leaving messages but that I do not want to talk to them on a one-to-one situation ever again.
This is totally, one-hundred percent, untrue.
But if you and I have been leaving messages for each other for over four years now, and you and I have yet to physically talk to each other in four years, and all you and I do are leave each other messages at very inopportune times [read: times that either of us are sleeping or at work and wouldn’t normally answer our phone], then we are involved in a mutually-uninterested phone-message leaving voice mail twice-removed relationship.
As for the carrier pigeon thing, well, I’m not quite sure what I would be trying to communicate to you if I sent one to you at work. Because, well, getting a carrier pigeon set up with a message wrapped around his leg and then teaching him to fly all the way to the window of your office and wait for you to open it up and stuff…that takes a lot of time.
Maybe it would mean that I love you. Maybe that’s what it would mean.