I’ve had some version of this phone conversation now three times in less than a month. It was with a different person each time, for a different family member. The details varied, but the gist was the same.
- Can I please speak to your family member?
- Sorry but he is at the office.
- I tried calling, but got no answer.
- Well, he’ll be there for at least another hour. He must be away from his phone.
[Sounding annoyed] - This is important!
- If you call back, I’m sure you’ll be able to reach him. Or there might be someone else there who could help you find him—
[Sounding even more annoyed] - But I need to speak with him as soon as possible!
- I’m sorry, but I can’t reach him any faster than you can.
They always hang up exasperated, as if I had a magical hotline that allowed me to connect with the family member instantaneously. Or I’m holding back on a private cell phone number. Or I’m just not understanding!
My current guess is that the folks calling are used to living with their cell phones always on and attached. How do you explain to these folks that not everyone is connected 24/7, and that those that aren’t tend to prefer it that way? And how do you tell someone, without sounding condescending, that you know, grow up. You can wait and connect later. Really.