the answering machine: a modern history
"Science Beat" by Have a Nice Life
April 23, 2020 Thursday 10:35 PM
I already KNOW this topic is gonna make me sad, but do I care???? No! My grandpa tried to call me to wish me a happy birthday, but I was doing homework and decided not to answer, figuring I could call back once I was done and had time to mentally prepare myself for the awkward tension that is inherent to my not-close relationship with my beloved grandpa. Pretty dumb reason. I've always been like this with extended family, and even friends, up until college when I got more used to using phone calls as a means to maintain social relationships. But there are still vestiges of that old anxiety.
Anyway, he tried to leave a message, but my machine was full—as it has been since October 2017, haha (Jesus, that's 2.5 years). He told my dad—
Oop, hold on, I just got off the phone with my grandpa. Actually, it was a fine conversation! It was barely awkward. It all depends on my mindset, I guess. I also just sent a text to my Hippie Aunt. I know she's over there taking care of my grandpa and idk. Wanna express gratitude and love. Making him eat good and all that jazz. Make sure he's not stewing in his own old-person mess.
Okay, back to the matter at hand. Or, not really. Because first, another anxiety: I've been having anxiety over Diego. Just because I wanted to talk but he's been busy and me, feeling vulnerable at having to reach out to someone who knows that I like them very very much (hopefully?? tbh I've said it in ways that I feel are outright but he still manages to get confused, which I get, bc I'm vague—but I digress). Idk. Anyway I got all anxious about it; my first instinct is to go against my first instinct. Which is to say, I try to power through so that I don't end up receding instead (bc god knows we've done that before). So I said I wanted to facetime sometime soon and he didn't answer for sooooo long before saying "sure" (I'm not giving enough context so this sounds bad, but the hours he didn't answer were between, like, 2 AM and 11 AM haha). Then today he texted me once or twice, but things felt off and he said he was going to bed early tonight, which is what he said yesterday too. Most likely, something's up—he's ill, or stressed, or whatever, and I'm just being anxious because I'm in uncharted territories. I had this realization, that my fear was just coming from not having enough data to approximate what was going on, and I felt better. So yeah, now I feel a lot less worried.
Ultimately, everything will be okay. I feel better, too, that I was so nice to myself about this. I have been generally feeling pretty shitty about myself because I basically eviscerated my sleep schedule and as a result have been performing poorly in classes. I will get back on track this weekend.
As for my whole 21st birthday thing—nothing special. I picked up the little "cake" my parents ordered for me at the local bakery (it's less a cake and more of a breakfast bread, but I like that more anyhow), and I also stopped by the liquor store and was very awkward as I bought a dry white wine (pinot grigio, which I read is good for cooking—did I look up any recipes? No. But whatever, I'll figure it out) and grapefruit white claws. I have vodka here at the house, and the wine Matt bought me earlier this week, but I didn't feel like using either of those for tonight. For one, I'm just not in the mood for wine, and but I also don't want to drink, like.... vodka and lemon juice, haha. Lemon juice being all I have available for mixer.
Ahhh, my aunt just texted me back "love you too" and a lot of nonsensical emojis. She is so whimsical. Ahh. I started today feeling very melancholy and displaced, but I feel better now. Loved and stuff. :)
Okay! Answering machine messages—to be preserved here, as I need to delete them but I would like to store their contents somewhere. Here we go.
From: Lily [have not mentioned her in awhile, because we stopped talking regularly after high school, but she was my childhood best friend]
Date: April 16, 2012 5:15 PM
'ello, mate! This is your friend Lily! I have.. recently acquired a Brih-tish aksent and was wondering if you would like—to go somewhere. Yah. Okay. [background] (bye love!) [Lily] Bye love!
Date: March 19, 2013 11:20 AM
Hey Veronica, um, it's me. Uh... I just wanted to know if you could come today?... Call me when you wake up or whatever. Thanks!..
From: Ethan [also haven't mentioned him in a long time. He was our neighbor, a year younger than my sister. They were close friends and then they dated. He was a bit sociopathic back then, I dunno about now. I loved him soooo much, I pretended he was my brother, but, I mean. He did hurt my sister and after she cut him off he tried to reach her through me. It's not forgivable. I don't know if it's right to appreciate the so-called "good times" knowing my sister might have been experiencing something completely different... idk. A topic for another day.]
Date: March 29, 2013 6:45 PM
[muffled screaming voice] VRRRRNICUH. WHYDONTYOUPICKUP YOUR PHONE
[although the call is from Ethan's phone, this was most definitely my sister Caroline's monster voice lmao]
From: Meekah [yet another person I haven't mentioned in years. Childhood friend who transferred to a boarding school in our senior year of high school. We used to take the bus together all the time.]
Date: August 24, 2013 6:14 PM
Hey, Veronica. This is Meekah, your voicemail is stupid. And I just saw you—like five minutes ago—and you were having.. word vomit, blargh!!! Umm, I'm gonna continuously bother you for the rest of... our high school life and beyond, because... this whole [unintelligible—"get together for lunch thing is gonna work out" I believe, but I don't remember anything like that]. I love you! Bye.
From: Caroline [my lovely, lovely sister—who, at the time of this message, was 19. Younger than I am now!]
Date: September 2, 2013 9:27 AM
Ghhgehrkkrkkrrkrkrkhhhhrh hrjkrjrhhgsrhghh hrjjr [a sound that was mostly CERTAINLY her breathing obnoxiously into the reciever for ten seconds lmaoo! i love her] — Hi Ronks [her nickname for me]! I'm up— at this time —I dunno why. 'kay—I luhv yew, I miss you, bye
[this is a particularly uncanny message, just because, my sister's voice sounds so—high, and fast. It's just. Unfamiliar now? Lots of things about this message are familiar, i.e. the nickname and the way she structures her sentences (in sharp chunks, hence the dashes) and her obnoxious breathing-into-the-receiver thing, but the voice sounds so different]
Date: January 24, 2014 6:18 PM
[putting on a jokey authoritative voice, she sounds as if she's standing at least a foot away from the mic] HELLO! WE'RE TRYING TO CONTACT YOU~! PLEASE! SEND US A MESSAGE! OR NOT!
[I fucking love my mom]
From: Erica [ah, another to add to the list of highschool-friends-that-I-no-longer-talk-to. The interesting thing about this particular acquaintance is that she is now married and she lives in a nearby city about a 20 minute drive from my apartment!!! Cool!]
Date: June 29, 2014 4:25 PM
Hey Veronica, it's me Erica, get back to me as SOOOOn as possible, like— really, really, really, really soon. Okay. Buh-bye.
Date: July 7, 2014 11:23 AM
Chica. Vero, yo pensé que ya te vías [gibberish? I think?]—habías levantado? ¿Porque estás dormida tan tarde? Llamé a la casa y nadie contesta el teléfono. Ayy, bueno. Me voy para la casa. Alright! Bye.
Date: July 10, 2014 10:47 AM
Hey, Verónica. Um, mami—are you ready? Okay, bye.
Date: July 23, 2014 11:34 PM
Hii, Boo. Just wanted to tell ya I'm sure glad ya got on the other train. You can't imagine how worried your dad was! At anything that would happen. Anything. And nothing bad happened, so I'm–I'm happy that you're on your way home. And, uh. We're gonna sit here and watch a movie while you're sleeping. Goodnight! Bye bye.
Date: July 31, 2014 9:39 PM
[Mom] Vero, Vero! Amor, dijiste que va a venir a las ocho y Caroline no está. Y se me fue la onda! Así que llama Caroline para recogerte, amor, porque ya es tarde!
From: Grandma [feels weird to have a recording of her voice like this. Before the stroke in 2016 and everything.]
Date: August 25, 2014 6:17 PM
Hi, sweetie pie, I found your phone number, so I thought I'd call you. Anyhow, take care dear, hope all is well, I'm sure it is but anyhow. Hello and I love you, goodbye.
Date: September 29, 2014 5:26 PM
Hey, Verónica, Papi dice que te va a— va a llevarte, ok? ¡Yo no sé donde está! ¡Pero debería recoger tu teléfono!
Date: October 7, 2014 3:36 PM
[lots of empty white noise, and then:] Vero! [more nothingness]
Date: October 27, 2014 4:06 PM
Vero—what's up. [This is what she says when she's trying to figure out where I am/what I'm doing/when I'm coming home, etc.]
Date: October 31, 2014 5:15 PM
Veeeeroooo!!!! [judging from her tone, she was trying to get me to pick up the phone]
Date: November 25, 2014 4:45 PM
¡Vero, llámame! Ok? Bye—o, nada más déjame un mensaje, amor, porque no sé donde estás ni a que hora vienes. Ok? Bye. Y que si lo recibiste el dinero. Bah-bye. [It's kind of hard to transcribe her spanish, bc I'm bad at it and she speaks very quickly. I always understand it well enough, it's the grammar I don't pick up on, lmao]
From: [unknown number, but the area code places it in Fort Meyers, Florida. I know some of my cousins live in Florida, but this is late November and idk why we'd be there or they'd be visiting us. Caroline is the one calling, so maybe this is the year Caroline took off from school and she was visiting them? I don't remember her visiting them in Florida, but it's possible, because she was traveling quite a bit. Or maybe it's just one of her college friends from Florida, idk.]
Date: November 28, 2014 8:14 PM
[A voice that is clearly Caroline's]
First of all, Veronica... Your voice sounds weird.. on your little voicemail thing.. I don't recognize you.......Also, why's this even— Anyway. I really, really, really, really need to talk to Mom. So, I'm gonna try calling you again...........Ah! [unintelligible]..... Hello? Hellooooo!........Hello? Hello, hello, hello? Hello? Hello, hello?
From: Sam [a person I haven't been friends with since I was maybe a sophomore in high school. She was racist and angry but we used to smoke weed and drink together in freshman year. I still can't believe I did that kind of thing when I was fourteen fucking years old, lmao. Kind of dreading listening to this message, even though it's probably innocuous.]
Date: December 29, 2014 2:15 PM
Wow!! I dunno why you're not texting me back, but I'm like super bored and I wanna come over, sooo. Text me back and tell me if I can come over or not. Bye.
Date: December 29, 2014 5:07 PM
Qué peligroso que—supuestamente [unintelligible] anda caminando aquí. Ya. ¿Mira que no lo vemos?
[I have no idea if she knew she was leaving a message for me. I doubt it. I wonder where we were?]
Date: January 13, 2015 8:37 PM
So, Vero. I will leave a message, ok? But papi is waiting for you. Outside, so hurry up.
Date: February 6, 2015 12:17 PM
¿¿Vero, amor, donde estás?? I need to know, porque si no [unintelligible] ya me voy!
Date: February 11, 2015 5:06 PM
Vero, aquí estoy esperándote, amor...... Apúrate.... [muffled thumps]
[I feel sort of bad about the number of messages asking me where I am, how long until I'll be somewhere, etc., lmao]
Date: March 2, 2015 5:22 PM
[news radio sounds]
Date: March 4, 2015 5:12 PM
From: [Unknown number, from the same Florida area code]
Date: September 25, 2017 3:46 PM
Hi Veronica, this is Doctor [redacted], I know we've been playing phone tag. Umm—your mailbox is full and I tried to leave a, a message before, but now it's not. So, uh. Thank you for calling me, I.. would be happy to see you, but I do have a waiting list right now. So, if, uh, you would like to be on my waiting list, I'm looking at, you know, 2-4 weeks before I can get someone new in. Uh, my number is [redacted]. Uh, and if you do decide to be on the waiting list, you're welcome to look for somebody sooner and we'll at least save a spot if you'd like to do that. Let me know, and I'll talk to you later, bye.
From: Lancelot [my therapist up until like a month ago]
Date: September 26, 2017 11:28 AM
Hello, Veronica, this is Lancelot, just giving you a call back again, wanted to make sure that uhhhh what you're looking for was [taking covered], but, um, if you do still need or are interested in therapy, give me a call back and we can [???] what we look for. Thanks, take care.
Date: October 10, 2017 10:25 AM
Hey, Verooo! [return of the answer-your-phone tone]
Date: April 23, 11:42 PM
*perfectly cut screech*
I must've deleted all the messages from 2015 and 2016. Sad! Now I have room in my inbox, which is good. This wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. It was nice to hear Grandma, although I'm sure at the time I was dreading having to call her back. Cool.
It's April 24 right now, mid-afternoon. Last night was fun, I played Drawful 2 with Greg, Matt, Nadiya, and Maria over Zoom. I feel pleased.