Here’s the story. I was watching Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty, reading The New York Times and enjoying a glass of wine. (OK, maybe two.) And the phone rings.
This is why Bell Labs invented Caller ID: Private. Or Out of Area. Shame on me if I answer and become embroiled in a long conversation about the benefits of long-term health-care insurance. Or some equally uncompelling sales pitch. So three quick rings later and I’m back in the comfort zone.
Then later I check the answering machine.
“Hello. This is Hillary Clinton.” What? Good grief. I missed the chance to talk to potentially the next president of the United States. Talk about bad luck. She was reaching out to me. And I didn’t answer the phone. But even worse, the answering machine cut off her message. Any chance Hillary and Bill are going to stop over my place this weekend? If so, I hope it’s early evening. I don’t generally do well with guests after 9 p.m.
But this morning when I was running I thought about the call from Hillary. In this day of social media, here we have the use of a really traditional communication vehicle. Is a telephone call still the most effective way to reach people? Maybe. It’s direct. And while Hillary seemed to be a little rushed, it’s one-on-one communication. Although it didn’t appear that she was giving me much of a chance to join in the conversation. Probably like an executive-level blog at a large corporation.
But on campus, students have cell phones tethered to their ears. They would probably welcome the calls. At home, at least for me, I avoid calls particularly around dinnertime. I’ve reached the point where I can’t risk having to wear a blood pressure cuff to make it through the evening meal. So maybe it’s generational. If Hillary calls back I’ll ask her how effective these calls have been. To me the calls are similar to the ads you have to sit through at movie theaters these days: intrusive and irritating. Possibly good marketing. Bad public relations. I won’t tell her that. From the look of it she has other problems.
All I know is that until March 4 I’ll go ahead and take a chance and answer at least some of the calls. Don’t want to miss Mike Huckabee. He might enjoy running the 10-mile course on South Main Street in Akron. I’ll ask him. That is always fun in late February. Blowing wind. Ice and snow on the street. Cars and trucks coming at you from all directions. Right, Walter?
I have no luck.