I was going to write something like this:
If there's one thing I hate more than telemarketing calls where there's a brief pause after I pick up the phone and I have to say "Hello?" three or four times before a human answers, it's telemarketing calls that come in while I'm out and get the answering machine. (Okay, actually there are quite a lot of things I hate more than either of those. It's a figure of speech. Cope. Besides, it's the traditional way to begin a complaint of this sort, which is to say a crotchety complaint about what the world is coming to, on account of a ridiculously minor annoyance that really doesn't particularly matter in the greater scheme of things.) The messages always go something like this:
"Hello. . . . Hello? . . . Hello? . . . Hello? . . . Hello, Mr. Hartman? Mr. Hartman? Hello! Hello!" and then a click.
(This evening's recording said "Mrs. Hartman," but otherwise was basically the same.)
What bugs me is not just that they're junk calls, but that by the end of them, the telemarketer is sounding aggrieved and annoyed, as though I've done some personal injury to them by answering the phone and then not talking to them.
You would think that telemarketers would quickly become aware of the fact that sometimes their stupid system connects them to an answering machine. You would think that they might realize, after thirty seconds of nobody speaking at the other end of the line, that perhaps they're talking to such a machine. You would think that they would attempt some marginal form of politeness, or at least that they wouldn't let their annoyance show through, given that they're the ones calling me about something I have no interest in.
But no; they're annoyed, and they make that clear, and then they hang up.
But then I had some food and read some SWAPA, and Steeleye Span's "Cadgwith Anthem" came on iTunes, followed by a Bare Necessities tune, and I'm now in a marginally better mood, so instead of writing all that I'll go read some submissions.