I come from what now seems like the Mesozoic era in office technologies. The world’s first word processor had just emerged from the primordial ooze, so big and noisy that it required its own room and mammal-like operator, the telephone was the only phone, text was the squiggly lines in the newspaper, mail, thank god, came only once a day and was read only once a week and the work day was just the day. We had these pink pads all over the place to record messages and they were labeled “While You Were Out.”
Perhaps they are still used. How would I know? I’ve been out. But if you take a look at them they are so charmingly archaic. Even the label, “While You Were Out” is so gentile, so mild mannered as opposed to “Where the Hell Were You” which is the attitude I presume message etiquette to consist of these days.
It has little boxes to annotate the nature of the missed event. “Came To See You” says one. I realize this still happens – mostly, salespeople cold calling. But can you imagine a time when a connection was still a connection? People met by meeting, and not in a meeting, which is not where anyone actually meets at all, since my husband tells me that, while I was out, meetings have come to consist of people sitting around a table, each hammering stone-faced into their laptops.
While I’m Out, I hope that you will Come To See Me, because I Will Call Again with these Messages which I hope time has not rendered obsolete, or for that matter, Urgent, but just a wink of pink for you to record the While.
Your trust fund has gone up.
Dinner at my place?
This will make you happy.
You won’t believe this.
Just wanted to say hello.
What did you do all day?
Take the rest of the day off.
We’ll be in your neighborhood next week.
This is what you’d look like without $22,800 worth of makeup.