Michigan Has Gone Hands Free, Leave a Message at the Beep
The updated Michigan Distracted Driving Law is now in effect and I'm a fan. In fact, I'm such a fan of not being available when I'm driving that it's made me miss this beautiful piece of 80s technology:
The Answering Machine. The giver of messages that let you know whether or not someone tried to reach you with a single flashing red light. If you were at the movies, you were at the movies, and if you were waiting for a call you'd rush into the house to check and see if the light was blinking. We survived without being available 24/7.
There was a time, not too long ago, we didn't expect instant anything. We would stand in line daily. Most of the lines weren't straight either. You still see them today if you physically go into some establishments. Most people herders used to be made of velvet ropes dangled between 2 steel posts. That is until the seatbelt industry saw growth potential and put a huge dent in velvet rope profits.
Sure it's great to see and hear our friends and family instantly and I'm glad we can do so. But, we have to find a happy medium. We can no longer expect people to be INSTANTLY available anymore. Nor should we moving forward.
Our answering machines and voicemails (both way out of fashion now) do share a common feature, the greeting:
I'm unavailable at the moment, please leave a message and I'll get back to you at my earliest convenience
This was the professional greeting of the time. No "I'm sorry I can't get to the phone" because no apology was needed. We called to talk to you and if something was important enough we left a message. We also didn't expect you to instantly reply. We knew you had a life beyond us and knew we'd hear back eventually.
We didn't expect you to walk out of a movie or answer the phone traveling at 70mph, surrounded by dozens of others in equally fast-moving piles of steel, trying to navigate rush hour while sending a text to someone saying we will be late. We just showed up late, apologized for doing so, and made up a spectacular tale of what caused the delay.
We used to do a lot of things, but not expecting our colleagues, friends, and family to immediately return a call or a text puts their life, and dozens of others in true danger. If you have someone in your life that has these expectations, tell them: I'm unavailable at the moment, please leave a message and I'll get back to you at my earliest convenience.