Much Ado: Voicemail

I finally did it. I gave in. Sold out! The growing desperation for employment has led me to do the unthinkable; to go against everything I stand for in this world.

I emptied my voicemail box.

I am dreading the consequences of my actions today. I’ve had it so good for so long, but it’s all over now.

A thing about me: I hate voicemail. Actually, hate isn’t even a strong enough word. I abhor them. Yes, it’s that serious. Every step of the exasperating process boils me into a rage steaming enough to cook my dinner.

I don’t like pointless things. And because caller ID exists, as does texting, as does so many other means of communication, voicemails just don’t warrant any necessity to me. But yet, people still feel obligated to call me, wait through minutes of rings, automated voices, and an age old beep, just to say, “Hey, this is that person who’s name is clearly plastered all over your phone. Yeah it’s me! And I called you, which you might not have gathered from that MISSED CALL notification that is making your phone blink unceasingly. I’m not going to tell you what I wanted, thus thoroughly taking a dump on the only point this function has ever intended to serve. So call me back, because OBVIOUSLY.

I’m not calling you back. I would have been more inclined to respond if you hadn’t sent me a voicemail.

I know who you are.

I know you called me.

I know you want something.

And if you just wanted to say hi, why? 

Do I know you like that?

Because if I do, and you’re not my grandmother, text. me. Snap me. Facebook me. Freaking tweet me. Gram me. Email me. YOU CAN FIND ME ON PINTEREST FOR ALL I CARE. Or if you insist on using such antiquated means of contact then send me a hand-written letter.  Any of which I would respond to quicker than a voicemail.

If I didn’t detest voicemails enough, then phones started making the notification permanently pinned to your task bar until you checked your inbox.

WHAT?! GET THIS ISH OFF MY SCREEN. If I don’t want to check my messages, I shouldn’t have to. What’s it to Verizon if I don’t look at my voicemail?

I’ve tried everything to stop people from leaving me voicemails. Various messages ranging from “If you leave me a message, the terrorists win. Do you hate America?” to, “My voice mailbox is in Spanish for some reason, I’m not going to get your message because I don’t know what it’s telling me.” That second one actually happened. But you awful people kept leaving me voicemails anyway.

Then I remembered some of those lucky turds whom I’ve called before to arrive at an automated response saying the caller I tried to reach had a voicemail that wasn’t set up yet. Dang it, why did I ever set mine up? Can I set it…down? Turn it off? I want that message in my life for the world to hear when they call. I searched for how to do this. I went to my service provider. They told me you can’t undo the set up once your voicemail is active. Blast. There had to be another way.

I got halfway to bliss when I decided to simply stop checking my voicemail. I let my inbox fill up, and I didn’t delete anything. That stupid icon still plagued my notifications, but at least I wasn’t getting any new voicemails. I learned to live with it, and in time I didn’t notice it anymore. When someone would tell me they tried to leave me a message but my mailbox was full, I would just smile, and then quickly readjust to a confused face and reply, “Oh, you DON’T SAY! I should uh.. delete some messages or something. Yeahh. HAH, how weird, right? Pfft.”

But then the day came. The blessed day that I had been waiting for all my smartphone owning life. The day I got a new phone. Turns out that as I transferred everything over to the new device, my voicemail alert didn’t come along for the ride.

No. More. Icon.

No. New. Messages.


Did I just win?

Did I just have my cake and eat it too?

Did I just take a swim and not get wet?

Is the wolf full and the sheep still whole?


I totally just won!



I did it.

I dismantled the establishment…or something!

I’m…I’m so happy. 

By the way, I had a really great time looking up other phrases that mean the same as the cake idiom. Other cultures are so much more fun than us.


You can’t have your mustache and drink your porridge. ~Tamil


Well all that merryment had to come to an end eventually. And today was that sad, sad day.

I was talking to my boss yesterday and it came up about my loathing for voicemails and how I keep my box full so I don’t get new ones. He shook his head at me and asked how I was supposed to get important messages. Important messages like what? I don’t get important messages. No message is important. He pointed out that prospective employers might call. I, still unrelenting, retorted that they could just email me, same way I contacted them. He shook his head again.

I figured, whatever he’s just old. I’d obviously call a job right back if I missed a call. But then it came to me that I don’t always have service. Namely when I’m on the subway. And I can be on the subway at prime periods of the day. And if I get a call when I’m underground, I never receive notification of it. Only texts come through..

Damn. It. All.

I conceded. I had to. It hurts. It hurts so bad. This had better be worth it or there will be hell to pay.

I didn’t even know how to call my voicemail anymore. I didn’t remember my password. I finally broke in and had 27 messages. 27 messages consisting of 3 minute long recordings of rustling pockets, relatives who called just to ask, “Who is this,” and the many jerkwad friends of mine who went on tirades that always started off with, “So I know you hate voicemails, BUT HERE’S ANOTHER ONE ABOUT NOTHING HAHAHA!”

I need some time to recover. That was just too much.

P.S. If any of you cretins and kretins(you know who you are) take advantage of my weak state right now and leave me voicemails, I will consider it an act of war and you’d better be prepared for the fallout. ~ Much love :3


I keep trying to speak with the Latino guys at my job who work in the kitchen. I’ve worked in that place for a year and every interaction to this day has been a train wreck when I try to talk to them in Spanish. Over the past couple years, I’ve developed this habit of mixing the Japanese I’ve learned with the Spanish I know. It’s a caliente mess, let me tell you…desu. Omg!


thai sleeping

Heh, anyways, I’ve been studying Japanese for the past two years. I plan on teaching English in Japan for a couple years after I graduate from college, and I would love to become fluent in the language. But I have a long road ahead of me towards full literacy. You know how stupid you feel when you just cannot grasp a concept in school? Well imagine feeling utterly stupid in two different cultures at the same time. That was me in my first Japanese class.

My Japanese professor, Tanaka sensei, was fantastic. He really wanted us to learn Japanese in a manner as similar as possible to how we learned English as babies. So he taught with mostly visual aids, and we rarely used the text because he didn’t want students to try and translate words. Tanaka sensei’s showed us pictures, and acted out situations with a little monkey puppet so we would understand the context of words and phrases. It sounds crazy, and everyone in class exchanged confused glances at each other when he first introduced us to the monkey puppet, but after a couple times trying to translate terms and failing, we grew to appreciate his teaching methods.

Along with not allowing us to directly translate words from Japanese to English, Tanaka sensei also forbade students from speaking English during classtime. To ensure that we didn’t, he would dock points from English speakers. It seemed harsh at the time, but looking back, it really did make a difference. Not only was it a hindrance to the person speaking, but it also threw off the learning process for everyone around them. I only wish I took Tanaka sensei’s warning against this more seriously. I was good about not speaking English in class, but what I failed at was shutting my mouth.

Generally, since we weren’t allowed to speak English, if you didn’t know how to say something in Japanese, the only other option was to shut up. But of course I would be the one to make up a whole new option. I just substituted Spanish for the words I didn’t know. I’ve been out of class for a year so nobody yell at me about my grammatical mistakes and whatnot. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But moments like this would happen in class all the time:


(Ray-san, where did you go for summer vacation?)


(I went to California.)


(What did you do there?)

 家族をあって、あの。。。あのおおおお。。。La playa に行きました。

I met with family, and uh…uhhhhh…went to la playa.

La…playa… la playa って何?日本語じゃありません。

La playa? What’s la playa? That’s not Japanese.


Uhh, no.

During my first semester in the Intermediate Japanese class, I missed my midterm due to some family things going on. For make-up, I had to take my test in the Foreign Language lab at a later date. I go in for my test and walk to this table in the back of the room. My Japanese professor ran the language lab, but it was purposed for all foreign language class students to come and complete their lab assignments. During the time I had to take my test, someone who took Spanish came in to do an audio lab at one of the computers. This lab required him to record himself reading a story in Spanish and sending it to his professor. And he was stationed three feet away from me while I’m taking a Japanese exam. It was the most confusing half hour of my life.

I was sitting there, thinking in English, listening to Spanish, all of which I understood, and reading and trying to write in Japanese. It would have been easy to tune out the guy reading in Spanish if it were basic and redundant. Like if all he was saying was “El gato es negro,” or something Dick and Jane-esque, that would be easy to ignore. But no. It was this long winded story of his family throwing him a birthday party in the mall and there was cake and dancing, good music, and…cousins. I couldn’t focus for the life of me.

I got an A- on that test, but the mistakes I made, oh geez. For one question, I wrote the Spanish word for ‘where’ instead of the Japanese word. It’s donde versus doko, sue me. What was weird was that I actually wrote ‘donde’ in hiragana. And I ended up using ‘de’ incorrectly since it functions completely different in each language.

My mix of Spanish and Japanese has only gotten worse since I’ve been away from a professor that would steer me away from doing so. It’s just become a matter of whatever is easiest to say in either language, that’s what comes out of my mouth.

In my defense, apparently children who are raised in a bilingual home grow up speaking both languages at once. Some parenting guides suggest each parent speaking to the child exclusively in one language each so they can better compartmentalize the two. I’m not a child though. I don’t get the opportunity to botch language while I learn. I’ll get it together in due tiempo though, promise. But bear with me in the meantime.