DEAR MISS MANNERS: Nowadays when I call someone, the voice mail message often instructs me to "hang up and text me." This is said in a surprised, aggravated tone, as if I were violating an established rule known to everyone else.
Is this really the etiquette now? People would rather read badly typed, semi-coherent message fragments than have an actual conversation?
I think texting is fine for quick little messages and reminders, but I cannot imagine conducting the equivalent of a normal phone conversation by text. I know people are busy and don't always have time to chat on the phone, but I cannot help thinking that this new directive is rude.
GENTLE READER: It is true that one need not make oneself available to all forms of communication. Miss Manners choses not to get her feet wet at the beach retrieving discarded bottles on the off-chance that they may contain correspondence.
But once you have activated a voice mailbox, it is only polite to check it. Recognizing that one does not always have a choice in such matters, Miss Manners will allow for a gracious message to the effect that this box is not checked frequently, so that if your matter is urgent, you may prefer to use an alternate form of communication.
Meanwhile, send an email -- not a text, because you needn't follow rude instructions -- saying you would like to talk to that person sometime.