By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 23, 2015
Nato Welton

On the bulletin board behind my computer in the office, I have tacked up a New Yorker cartoon by Alex Gregory. It’s two guys in business attire sitting at bar, and one is saying to the other, “I used to call people, then I got into e-mailing, then texting, and now I just ignore everyone.” Here’s the link, if you ever want to buy it from the extremely efficient Conde Nast store.

I think I find this funny because, without my knowing it, it describes my life.

A study in contrast: Last week I needed to reach a neighbor about a little neighbory matter. I called her cell, but her mailbox was full and I couldn’t leave a message. Five minutes later she called back and basically said—I am paraphrasing–“I don’t know who you are but I saw that you called me….” Which is a good thing, because I did really need to talk to her. However, the fact that she called me back was astonishing, because I would never, ever, everevereverever do that. If I see an unfamiliar number, I do not answer it on principle. I figure it is either a) someone I don’t want to talk to or b) someone who will leave a message if I need to talk to them.

Am I a misanthrope? Uh…. No! At least, I don’t think so. I just, well, prefer not to actually talk to anybody, and find that not answering the phone (Mom and Dad, of course this does not apply to you) is the most expedient way to accomplish that goal. Oh, it’s sad. But it’s also peaceful, in a passive-aggressive, quiet sort of way.