Even when we feel we must call, the dynamics have changed. Used to be if you tried to connect and didn't get through, you left a message with a secretary or family member. Then voicemail became widespread, and we quickly adapted. Even if we got a live person, we would ask to be put into their VM box, so our message came through as we intended it. Yet now we've evolved past that, to where our kids tell us never to leave them a message. Rather, if they don't answer, we are instructed to hang up and text them. After all, why waste time calling in to hear a message when you can read it quicker? I confess that my favorite feature of my Google Voice account is that it transcribes every voicemail and emails them to me, enabling me to never have to listen to messages at all. Unlike Nipper, I don't pine for my master's voice.
So maybe it's time to radically rethink our phones. For when you consider how we use them these days, a new design is probably called for. Instead of speaker and microphone with keyboard appended, perhaps we need to reverse the equation. After all, speaking for myself and as Jimmy Buffet wrote, if the phone doesn't ring, that'll be me.