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With new technology, comes new problems.  Before there were cars, no one had to fear running out of gas.  When recordkeeping was all done in hand written ledgers, no one had to worry about a computer crash, causing all that important data to disappear.

    

And before answering machines, we didn't have to worry about recording words that weren't meant to be heard.
Which is exactly what happened to me the other day.  And believe me, this type of situation can cause a rift in the best of relationships.

After calling my house and leaving a quick message for my husband, I put the phone down on my parents' coffee table, thinking that I had turned it off.

  

And then I started complaining to my mother about my dear hubby.  About how much he slept, how much he ate, how much TV he watched.  I just let it all out.

Mind you, it isn't as if he's totally unaware of how I feel, I just don't think he knows that I bitch about him to my mom.

Well, he does now.

When I got home, he very politely and quietly reminded me that at my age I should know how to turn off a phone.  That there was a five minute message on our answering machine and that I might want to listen to it.

"Oh?" I said, casually.  "About what?"

"You said you would be home shortly and then something about bringing your dad..."  He paused.

  

I jumped in with an "okay" and let out a sigh of relief.
But he wasn't finished. "And then you..." He patted his gut. "Just listen to it." He turned and walked away.
After feeling my own stomach tighten, I did what he had suggested.

  

Yep, it was all there.  An "Exhibit A" that would surely hold up in any court.  My voice.  My words.  My sentiments.
But the fact is, that after I bitched, I felt better and then my mom and I discussed my husband's wonderful attributes:  How much he loves to cook.  How creative he is.  How he's such a great grandfather.

  

But as it so often goes in life, the machine cut off seconds before my praises could be recorded.  He only heard the bad stuff, not the good.

Fortunately, we've been married long enough that this incident was just one of many glitches, and nothing we couldn't overcome.

But it got me thinking.

It appears that cell phones can and do call numbers without their owner's consent.  Sometimes my phone rings, I say hello. No one answers.  I hear people talking, but not to me.

It's usually someone I know, so I listen for a few seconds and then hang up, for fear they will be talking about me.  It's bad enough to hear rumors about yourself through the grapevine, but to hear it first hand, that's just plain hurtful.

I think we're better off these days with cell phones and answering machines.  We don't have to sit at home waiting for that special call.  If it doesn't come, we haven't wasted hours staring at an inanimate object, willing it to perform.

But then some days I'm not so sure.
Once you leave a message for someone, you can't take it back.  Even if you've left it in the heat of anger and want to take it back.  And with these new Smart phones, conversations can be recorded without your consent.

So, I've come to the conclusion that now more than ever is the time to follow this old saying of my grandmother's: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

I learned the hard way.




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