Friday 30 November 2007

Hello?... Is it me you're looking for?

The phone on the desk beside me has been ringing all morning. The caller display shows the same number each time - a number which is not familiar to me. All I know for sure is that whoever this individual may be they don't seem particularly keen to admit defeat or take no for an answer. I have no idea what monumental crisis they are faced with nor do I care - I refuse to answer it. (Maybe its just as well I don't volunteer at The Samaratins) .

Were I to pick up the phone, my natural politeness would result in me explaining that the usual occupant of the desk isn't available and then asking, no matter how hard I try to resist, "Is there anything I can help you with?". While there is a substantial possibility that the caller will accept my offer, this is not the reason behind my refusal to answer the phone. I'm not particularly busy at present - just listening to Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous and reading some technical articles - I could easily spare some time to help.

Instead, I am refusing to pick up the call because they insist on letting the phone ring 20 to 30 times before they hang up. It may seem a petty reason to some but even the dullest of minds must realise that if you call somebody at their place of work and they don't answer within the first 4 or 5 rings then chances are it won't be answered. By all means call back a little later (not 20 seconds later mind) and see if they are available then but, for the benefit of those sitting in the vicinity of the phone you are calling, don't let the phone ring and ring and ring and ring and....

Its not the same as calling somebody at home - its a single storey desk so there is no need to let the phone ring in case they need to rush downstairs from their desk's first floor. Equally its not very likely that you've caught them in the shower - they will not need time to wash the Head & Shoulders out of their eyes and wrap a towel around their waist before rushing through an open plan office to answer your call. In getting to the phone they will not be required to gingerly find his way through a number of children's toys which have been strewn about the place nor will they need to rush in from weeding their desk's garden- it doesn't have one. Given that the desk is probably about 5' by 3', the phone is either within arms reach or its not.

At its simplest, the real reason I will not answer the phone is because I'm not entirely sure I could prevent my side of the conversation going like this...

Hello?.... Brian?... No, he's been here all along... he was just sitting here, looking at the phone and wondering why it was making that noise...

... and its nice to be nice.

Wouldn't I feel bad if it turns out there was a crossed line between his phone and 999?

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