Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Red Light

The Red Light

No, this is not about what you would assume.

It isn’t a stop light.

It isn’t a rail-road crossing.

It isn’t the Red Light District.

It IS simply – Voicemail.

As I sit at my desk working, I find myself oddly thankful that the internet and phone lines are down. This means the voicemail system is down as well.

Earlier I was sitting here working on a book order when THE Red Light caught my eye. The “You have voicemail” light on the phone suddenly flashed on. Now, I was not on the phone so this means that this voicemail came internally from the main office. This signals one of two kinds of voicemail notifications:

“The XXX community is saddened by the loss of…”


Someone has had a child. I would quote that announcement – but it is usually a death. I cannot remember how a birth announcement goes.

It is such a simple announcement. I never know the people involved. Sometimes it is a current employee, former/retired employee, family member of an employee, or etc. The strange part is – I fill with dread when that light pops on like that. Many of my co-workers, to my surprise, agree that they hate to dial for messages when that light pops up.

Each announcement is recorded by the same person. The message is always professional. Always to script. Her voice always soft and nearly monotone. Not unpleasant in and of itself. If only she where able to make other announcements of less grave contents…

The shock

Sometimes I come back to my office and the voicemail light is on. I always assume I have simply missed a call. I pick up the receiver, dial my mailbox and wait for the caller’s voice. The second I hear this dear lady’s voice, that dread wells up inside. Sometimes I delete it before the message even gets going. I just cannot listen to it.


As I pointed out, so far I have NOT known any of the parties involved in the sad affairs. This means no emotional connection between myself or them. As a matter of fact, I feel little to no emotion at this point in my life as a general rule. At times I think it has been beat out of me or simply erased. Maybe neglect has allowed the emotions to just wither away like an un-watered flower. I feel a connection to very few people. I am simply a blow-up doll in an emotional closet. No public displays.

And Reality...

The phones are back up and the Red Light is back on. They have been up for a couple of hours now. I still have not dialed my voicemail.

It's 5:00pm now.
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