Electronically, I’m pretty much always available. My phone has everything — cue Stefan voice — five different email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and even, like, an actual keypad that dials something called a “phone number.”
I refuse to install the Facebook Messenger app, which is kind of hilarious. It’s the one way you can’t get to me when I’m out and about. I’ll open up Facebook and see the red number over the message icon and have no way to access that message. It’s both frustrating and empowering. “Look at me not needing to read that message right now. I’m out living my live, carefree. I have no idea who’s trying to contact me or what the message says. I HAVE NO IDEA WHO’S TRYING TO CONTACT ME OR WHAT THE MESSAGE SAYS?!?” That’s when the panic sets in.
I take a few calming breaths. It’s probably nothing. It’s a Facebook message. There’s a 99.9% likelihood that it’s not a life or death situation. It’s probably someone sending me a sticker or asking for a movie recommendation. That’s it. BUT WHAT IF THEY’RE ON THEIR WAY TO THE MOVIE RIGHT NOW AND THEY NEED THIS INFORMATION POST HASTE?!?
That’s when I open up the app store and let my finger hover over the Facebook Messenger icon for a while before remembering that I’m out and about and haven’t memorized my Facebook password and thus wouldn’t be able to log on anyway and so what if they need a movie recommendation let them ask Dean Richards because he gets paid to give movie recommendations.
And then I move on to checking Twitter.
At home, it’s a whole different ballgame. Again, you can reach me on Facebook (now with Messenger!), Twitter, hell, even LinkedIn. I have access to email and text and probably stuff I haven’t even figured out yet.
But, in some ways, my home is my fortress.
We have a landline. It came with our Kabletown subscription. No one has this number. I’m pretty sure John doesn’t even have this number. So when we’re sitting down in the basement watching New Girl and a call pops up on the screen from “Oklahoma” or some shit, we smile smugly at each other and say, “We don’t want to hear from you.”
We keep the ringer off. There is no ringer. Our voicemail box is probably stuffed with political calls and telemarketers, but we’ve never set up a voicemail account, so we don’t check it. We don’t care. Empowerment.
Our doorbell just broke. I don’t want to fix it. I don’t want to get a new one. My theory is this — chances are, if you’re showing up at my door unannounced, I probably don’t want to talk to you. You’re probably soliciting something or you want me to join your religion or I don’t even know. Whatever the case, I didn’t invite you over and I don’t have time to talk to you because I’m too busy answering emails from people I’ve never met in person. If I’m expecting someone, I’ll keep an eye out. I’ll give them the passcode, i.e. don’t ring the bell; you have to knock. This way, I can feel good about not opening the door for kids selling magazine subscriptions. Ignorance is my defense. “Oops. I didn’t know you were there. My doorbell is broken.”
It’s the “I don’t have Facebook Messenger on my phone” excuse of the analog world.
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