Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Day #153

Today I created a rule. Not that that's new--I have lots of rules, as well as maxims, mantras and aphorisms. Like "Don't shit where you eat." Or "If you can't hide it, plant a flag on it." Or "If you want what someone has, do what they do." (And its corollary, "If you want to keep getting what you're getting, keep doing what you're doing.")

But today, together with Kate Sokoloff, producer of Live Wire Radio, I solved a vexing etiquette issue. So I hereby institute the Mysterious Phone Disconnect Protocol. You know what I'm talking about--you're chatting away and the person on the other end suddenly disappears, which, in my case, can take a minute or two to discover because I talk so much.

ANYWAY, the vexing etiquette issue is: Who is responsible for phoning back? If I'm still on the line, I feel like it's the other party's responsibility. I mean, they mistakenly hung up or went into a dead cell zone or dropped the phone in the urinal, right? But what if they don't realize it's their fault? You wait a while, engaging in a game of chicken until, invariably, you both cave and dial each other at the same time, getting each other's voice mail, in which case now you really don't know who's supposed to call back.

So Kate and I decided it doesn't matter whose fault it is--the responsibility should lay on the shoulders of the person who made the original call. Having a system in place makes it easy for all of us to know what to do. That's right, even if you're certain it's because the other person's cell went dead. Just call them back if you made the call and leave a message. Y'know, something like, "Call me back." In which case etiquette dictates that person now return your call.

See how simple it is?

Maybe tomorrow we'll work on what to do when you meet people you most certainly know and cannot remember their names.

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Rick said...

I'm anxiously awaiting tomorrow's tidbit: I do it all the time!

Hillary said...

Dude!* That's brilliant!

*Dude being one accepted greeting when I guy can't remember another guy's name. As a woman, I sometimes just say "hi, friend" or just ignore the name part and dive into the chatting as if the unnamed person is so important to me that I don't actually have to name her/him. I'm looking forward to hearing your official take on this situation though.

Anonymous said...

If I completed my thought, story, or sentence during a phone call that gets dropped, I may decide that was good enough and not call back.

If the story that the caller or receiver was telling me was gooood, I'll call back no matter if I was the caller or not.

heatherlyonbooks said...

Um. I'm still looking at Noah. Is his hair naturally curly?

Shephard said...

That's quite logical. Reasonable. Obvious maybe even. I may have to alert everyone I know to this new etiquette rule.

Colin Matthew said...

When I meet people whose name I can't remember I simply act like I remember. I do not need to respond with "Hey -whatsyourname-" a simple "Hey" works just fine. From there I can ask about what they have been up to and how work/school is going until my mind can figure out who the heck that person is. It's kind of like a game, figuring out who they are before they realize that you don't remember their name.

Tyler! said...

Too complicated. The caller-back should be the person whose phone # ends with an even number. If both parties have even-ending numbers, then it's whomever has an odd number preceding the even number that ends the phone number. And so on. Or we could do it your way. We'll do it your way.

"Just David!" said...

great rule!! i have the 929 rule, you can phone me from 9 to 9, never before or after, especially if someone's died, i'd like to look fresher than the corpse the next day and there's nothing i can do about it anyway!