As regards ‘junk’ contacts, physical mail has long been overtaken – in my view – by telephone calls.
There is nothing in this world more calculated to raise my blood pressure and hackles than the experience of sitting down in my favourite armchair to watch a long-awaited ‘live’ television programme … or indeed, play a recording of a ‘saved’ one … and, almost as though one has been under constant surveillance by an operative in some Big Brother government control room, then immediately – as if on cue – receive a call from someone trying to sell me something.
In my case, there are two particular reasons why this should be so:
Firstly, by deliberate policy on my part, there are only five people in the world who know my land line number.
Three of them are members of my family and another – regrettably – is a member of the managing board of the mansion block in which I live, to whom I was obliged to give my number ‘in case of emergencies’ (needless to say, he now habitually calls me at random times of the day and night about an infinite number of subjects, none of which are ever emergencies).
Secondly – and this comment does not apply in the case of genuine emergencies, of course – there is an in-built conceit on the part of everyone else, even in those few who possess my phone number legitimately (see above), that assumes I spend my day doing nothing. Well, doing nothing but sit beside my telephone in case anyone who knows my number might just call me to discuss anything and everything of their choosing.
In fact, I would far prefer it if those who possess my telephone number effectively assumed the opposite, i.e. that generally-speaking, I don’t want to speak to anyone.
It would save time, because it is the truth.
If I had wished to speak to them, I would already have picked up the phone and called them.
This particularly applies to those making ‘junk’ calls trying to sell me something. If I had wanted whatever-it-is-they-are-flogging, cannot they understand that I would have called them … and not waited for them to call me?
In fact, the truth is, whenever my land line telephone rings, the only reason I ever pick it up is in case the person on the other end of the line is going to announce some form of ‘life or death’ family emergency.
In all other cases, those who call me might like to know, I begin to get exponentially irritated the moment that I answer the phone and register that it is not such a family emergency. Since, on average, I receive a minimum of at least one junk call a day, this means I spent about fifty percent of my awake time cursing the world.