Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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So Aaaanyway...

"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3."
Fuck. Just hit 1 I tell myself. Now! Do it now!
I press 2 and cringe in horror as my overmodulated voice thrums down the line. As I listen to the Spoken Word that is my voicemail message I realize I said the word "anyway" at least as many times as Brangelina has graced the cover of US Weekly in the past year.

What I thought was a charming little message left for an old friend I haven't talked to in years is actually a sad festival of stuttering overmodulation giving the impression I suffer from a speech impediment and Close Talker syndrome. And what's with all the bandying about the word "anyway"?
'So... Anyway... just wanted to say hello and see what you're up to. Anyway... give me a call. I live in New York City now. Anyway. I'll talk to you soon." Jesus. You'd think I was auditioning for, like, head cheerleader on One Tree Hill.

"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3." The operator intones.
I press 3, clear my throat, hold the phone a tad away from my mouth, appropriate what I imagine to be a breezy tone and give it another go.
What with all the pressure of leaving a masterfully planned, 'spontanteous' message I got all nervous, flubbed my 'lines' then tried to cover with an adolescent giggle that would have prompted casting directors to give me the lead in Nickelodeons next big hit.
"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3."
I can do this. Here we go again...

I leave a casual little message, try to keep it on the short side and sign off. Don't listen to it! my mind screams. Just hit send! You're not recording an album here, it's a fucking phone message! God damn these choices. Why does it give me the option to listen to myself? I'm certain to find something I don't like in EVERY message!

I press 2 and listen to my message. Motherfucker! It sounds like I'm reading from a script. I sound more operator than the operator! I can't send that, I'll sound like an asshole. I press 3 to erase and re-record my message.
Keep it short! I tell myself. Short and sweet. Okay. Here goes:

"Hey! (Nice work.. cheerful but not TOO cheerful) It's me, Monica B!elank* (Shit, he doesn't know your new last name) Well, Butler...But it's B!elank* now, I got married (He doesn't need a fucking book on tape, just leave your number and say goodbye!) Anyway, I was just calling to see how you're doing, you know? (Okay leave your number and sign off. LEAVE YOUR NUMBER AND SIGN OFF!!) Was wondering how your life turned out... Anyway... give me a call back if you feel like it (If you feel like it? Duh!) So anyway, I got married a year ago.. well, almost two.. one and a half actually ( Oh. My. God. Stop talking!) I live in New York City now and.. well.. anyway (Stop talking now!) Just wanted to say hello and see what you're up to (You already said that!) Aaaaanyway, my phone number is probably on your cell phone so just give me a call..(Mayday! Mayday!) Well, in case the number didn't show up I'll just give it to you as well (Abort! Abort! Abort!) 347-403-****... So, anyway.. hope to talk to you soon.
"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your mesage press 3."

Reader Comments (10)

I am the epitome of so anyways.... I use it everywhere. Really bad in using when I write or type something, leaving messages or anything really. It's a terrible thing! A hard habit to break as well.

As for voice mail messages...I try to leave short messages. I do! It doesn't always work in my favor especially when I have had a cocktail or 10. Then the messages I leave are quite novel-like. I have to do some work on learning to leave short messages and not using "anyways" so much in my daily life.

Anyways.... :)
May 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFiabug
i hate leaving messages, i ALWAYS sound like a dumbass.
May 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte
I have to record my voice for the voicemail system at my job.... I cr-r-r-ringe when I hear my own voice, and it's still hard to decide what to say when you're simply recording a generic message!
May 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Was he an ex?

"Head cheerleader on ONE TREE HILL"

<Laugh's uncomfortably>


You are the master of self-degradation as a comic device.

Hilariously written!

I don't have a cell-phone cos' I hate them.

You pretty much captured why.

Pressing 3

When I was younger I was in speech therapy until the 4th grade because I couldn't say my "r's". Back then, you had to talk into a recorder, and listen to your voice. I wanted to hide under the table. To this day, I still can't stand the sound of my voice and I'm 49!
May 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdeb
I always get caught up in that nightmare! The worst is leaving the outgoing message on my cell phone. I can spend an hour erasing and recording.
May 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Is it sad that I am reminded of a sitcom television moment, rather than an actual real-life event, that makes me laugh?
Okay - so when Monica on Friends was calling Tom Selleck whatshisname on the show (Richard) and tried to leave a "breezy" message -
which reminds me of the great answering machine scene from Swingers.
Which means I really should stop watching so much tv/movie bs and get a life, right???
May 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
no Emily, cos otherwise it would mean I would have to get a life as well!
Those two scenes you mentioned are two of my favourites ever!
love it when Monica records the outgoing message as 'maybe I'm getting my period, I don't know..'

recording an outgoing message rates up there as one of the most anxiety-inducing moments that exist
May 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy dee
You have such a way with casual words. Your humorous voice is so funny and engaging. I always laugh at your inner monologue.
May 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
That last paragraph was perfect. What's funny is that I get this way when I email people I haven't talked to in a long time. I always wonder if I'm saying to much about me or asking too many questions of them.

It's just so much easier to stay in touch.
June 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercitygirl

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