“Hello! Who’s there?”

Much has been written regarding the sharp decline in the art of writing notes in this age of text messages, email, Facebook and Twitter. Recently, I realized another decline in the art of communication – telephone etiquette.

Obviously, I date myself by evening bringing up the subject.  When we were younger, we were taught how to properly make a telephone call, answer the phone, and so on. The parents of one of my friends were so strict about the proper way to answer the phone in their house that she persists with it today.

“Hello, Smith residence, this is Mary speaking.”

And she is single – the only person living there!

This came up when we recently received a phone call from one of our 11-year old relatives.

“Hello”

Silence….finally “Hi”

“Hello. Who is this?”

Silence…finally, in a baby-like voice “This is Mallory!”

“Hi, Mallory. What can I do for you today?”

More silence….finally, “Oh, nuthin.”

And so it went on. Like trying to dig a splinter out of my thumb.

When I mentioned this to Mrs. Poolman, she said, “Why are you surprised? Have you talked with her parents lately? Who do you think is supposed to teach her?”

I realized that Mrs. P was right. We have received frequent calls from relatives in their 20s who call and simply say, “Hey!” and apparently wait for the recipient of the call to guess who they are and why they are calling.

You would think someone of our generation (50s) would know better, but they don’t. We have several friends who almost never identify themselves when they call. And some of them show annoyance when I ask, “And who is calling, please?”

I would recognize the voices of Mrs. Poolman, my two children and my father. After that, it’s a crap shoot. Caller ID works some of the time. I only look at it part of the time anyway. And if just shows a number and not a name, it’s not much help.

That last part is courtesy of the contact list built into my cell phone. I don’t even know Mrs. P’s cell number without looking it up. All I know is that it’s in my cell phone contact list under “Mrs. Poolman.

Recently, I received a call from the middle of my three sisters,  Margaret. I recognized her voice, but I thought I’d “zing” here anway.”

Margaret: “Hi Poolman! This is your favorite sister.”

Me: “Oh, hi, Kathy! I’m glad you called. I really want to hear more about what you were saying about Margaret yesterday.”

As they say on “The Big Bang Theory”…Bazinga!

And Mrs. Poolman says I still don’t understand why people don’t call me.

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