Separating Contacts by New Age and Dark Ages

One interesting thing I did during my recent switch from Outlook 2003 to Thunderbird was to also go through all my email contacts. Anyone who had never sent me an email or replied to an email of mine in the past few years, or who did so traditionally late (like months later), I deleted their email address and made a separate address book for them called “Phone Only”. I have no idea what is with these people. They either hate me and have no spine to say so, or maybe they get an email address and have no clue how to use it. I’m not talking about people with wrong email addresses or mailbox full folks. Some of them actually used to be pretty good friends.

A whopping 33 people got sent to the “Phone Only” list. It is 2006 and I’m living in the dark ages. I remember thinking in the mid 90’s that within a few years people would rarely use their phones for any general information purposes - things such as setting up meetings, making announcements, sharing general information (”did you hear?”), etc. Boy, was I ever wrong. Over ten years later, I have more friends than ever that have left email in the dust.

What amazes me is the ones who bother to have an email address but apparently have no idea what it is for. They give it out to their friends, but then never reply - not even one word replies. I could assume they just hate me, but when I do see them, they usually act pleased to see me. If I mention that I never hear from them via email, they brush it off with some excuse about a hard drive crash or they don’t have time to check email. I have no idea what happens to my emails since they don’t bounce back. Maybe their kids post them on their myspace blogs. I’m not talking about a week or two - I’m talking about years.

So, I made up my mind that I would just phone certain people from now on. Likely, I’ll be leaving messages on their answering machine, so I hardly see what the point of not having a functional email address is. What is the difference? I actually have a few friends that admit they screen their calls. I hate this more than anything - talking into a room. So I recently decided that if they are on the “Phone Only” list then they get this message - My name and my number. If they can’t have the courtesy to have a valid email address or to stop screening their calls, I can find some new friends. The only other way to get a hold of them would be to either mail them something (a message!), or to stop by their house so I can leave… a message!

33 people… wow… the information age is clearly not for everyone. By the way, almost all of these people are under 50 years old - I’m not referring to aging relatives or something. There is a cool tool you can set up on your modem to play a recorded message to a phone list or to leave it on their voicemail. I used this program over 10 years ago so it is nothing new. I have a good mind to just create a message when ever I send out an email to the enlightened folks and just have it say something like “Call Lawrence Salberg at 321-xxx-xxxx for an important message or else email him at lawrence@salberg.org. This message will self-destruct in 3 days so if you are so busy you can’t get back before then, don’t bother”. Ha ha…. I’d be the only one laughing, but at least I’d find out who are my true friends.

I had one friend who was, I thought, a really cool guy. He literally returned about only 1 in 12 of my phone messages. I’d call and leave a message, wait two days, leave another, etc. When I saw him, he would act like he was so happy to see me and want to talk and talk. Then he would never call back. I knew he got the messages because he’d own up to it when I would see him - he just said he was busy a lot. Amazing. I guess I should be fortunate to have learned this now at 36 years old, rather than later. People who don’t return calls or messages simply can’t be trusted - and who needs a friend that can’t be trusted?

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