It's days like today that I want to grab the phone, call Kathy, and say, "This is a hoot! Call Mom's number to see what the answering machine says!"
A lady from Lighthouse for the Blind in Fort Worth just called to ask about how to get in touch with Mom. I told her the number, and she quickly said, "I just called that number twice. A man and a woman answer the phone. They can't seem to figure out what button to push to hear me, so I called you instead."
I was intrigued. I immediately dialed Mom's number. The answering machine fooled even me. I kept saying, "Mom?! Leonard!? Can you hear me? Mom!?" It wasn't until the answering machine beeped that I realized that they had recorded themselves while they were trying to figure out how to work the futuristic contraption we all simply refer to as the "answering machine." I had to call the number again - to take notes.
Ring. Ring. Ring. Then, unintelligible mumbling. Then, clatter, clatter, clatter.
Leonard: That's not it either. Whuzzat?
Mom: I don't know. What does it say?
Leonard: It says "handset." You don't have no handset. I don't see no handset. And, I still don't see no "play."
Mom: The one I USED TO HAVE was easy to use.
[At this point, I listened very closely to see if she cursed my name. I'm the one who helped her pick out this new-fangled, "no handset" phone. She spared me.]
Leonard: I don't see no "play," but I do see "volume," "record," "announce," "set up," "microphone" - you ain't got no microphone - "clock."
Mumbling followed by more clattering.
Mom: What's that one say?
Leonard: That says "answer only." Maybe that means it'll take a message. The light is on.
Leonard: "Delete." "Hold." "Mute." It's saying that you've missed 50 calls! Fifty people done called you!"
Mom: Really?! 50?! [The excitement in her voice indicated that she wasn't thinking about 50 missed calls. She was awestruck by her own popularity.]
Beeeeeep. The unintentional answering machine greeting ends.
The phone does have a handset. I believe that in "corded phone" language it is referred to as the "receiver." Mom has 3 phones in her tiny apartment. The sci-fi, mysterious "no handset" phone and 2 good old corded phones that she brought from the "old country."
No, I did not leave a message. Kathy would have. And, it would have been heeeee-larious.