Storiesfromtheweekend :: Screening phone calls

June 18th 2012

I decided to get Foxtel because I want to watch Girls on HBO. The problem is you have to leave your details and a customer service representative will call you back. This poses a problem because I hate answering the phone. Racked with anxiety I ignored all seven calls. By the time my existential crisis had ended Foxtel had stopped calling. defines ‘screening’ as the act of deliberately ignoring a phone call, often for days on end. I’m so good at it when you look it up they use me as an example. It’s not that I don’t like talking on the phone, I just hate answering it.

I’m so bad at answering the phone even Barry O’Farrell would have to wait! The secret to not answering is to make it seem like you are unable, not unwilling, to talk. After you ignore your caller try texting something that alludes to you being prevented, against your will, from speaking. Say you’re in a meeting, masturbating or enjoying lunch with an Australian celebrity. Changing your voicemail to request people write you a letter instead of calling is a good idea too. Playing phone tag can even be fun! I once stayed in touch with a friend for months by simply leaving quirky updates on his voicemail (we are no longer friends).

So what’s the big deal about call screening anyway? Everyone does it, right? Wrong! My friend Tom always answers his phone. Always. It’s hell. For all my anxiety about picking up the phone he freaks out if he can’t answer. The whole concept of him even having voicemail is completely abstract. Tom takes calls in the middle of the night, during meetings or while he’s in the bathroom. He would answer his phone during sex if he could. In fact I’m pretty sure he did once. He doesn’t care. He’s nasty. If you punch in those ten magic numbers expect him to answer. He is definitely more likely to succeed in life than me.

Tragically, I recently got screened. A taste of my own medicine perhaps? It was the middle of summer and I had just called my friend to see if he wanted to go to the beach. I didn’t hear anything so I sent a text. About a minute later he replied “soz mate up north” so I forgot about it and went swimming. It was hell awkward when I saw him and his girlfriend at Camp Cove. Technically, they were telling the truth. If you live in Bondi and go to Watson’s Bay, then you’ve gone north, right?

Storiesfromtheweekend is exactly what it says it is: a segment covering stories from the weekend. It airs on Mornings with Declan Byrne every Monday after 10am. Read more stories here.


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