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It's all about the schedule

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By Alice Du Pont

I've been getting a lot of flack lately from family and friends about not answering my telephone. The only reason I have caller ID is so I can decide when I don't want to answer. I would say that 90 percent of the time I answer my telephone. Even if I just say I'm busy and I'll return the call later.

There are several types of calls that I almost always never answer. That's the 800 number, the no-name, and the no number calls. Seldom do I answer calls from names that I do not recognize because most of the time it's just a wrong number. I don't know anyone with a 800 number and if the name and number doesn't pop up on the screen, I don't want to waste my time by answering.

With caller ID I don't use the voice mail feature. Instead of having to hear the sales pitch of telemarketers who fill up my machine, I scroll through the numbers and decide which ones I want to return.

My cousin, Leslie, finally got me last week around midnight. She said she had been calling me for weeks and that I was never home. She knows the best time to get me is after 8 p.m. Then I told her that I didn't see her number on the caller ID so I wasn't aware that she called. She said that her telephone doesn't register a name and number when she makes calls.

Well, that's why she couldn't get me. I ignored the call.

My friends and kin are telling me that I should answer these calls because it could be something important or they could be calling from another number and something might be wrong. I have to think about that.

Sometimes I know who is calling and I don't answer. I have these people in my life who get a kick out of calling me early in the morning. I have a friend in Tallahassee who goes to bed around 9 p.m. and she's up sometime before the crack of dawn. Monday morning, a holiday no less, she called me at 7:40 a.m. and wanted to know if I was still lazing around in bed. Then she laughed. She's the extreme.

But I have noticed that people want you to be on the same schedule as they're on. If they are at work at 8 a.m., they can't seem to figure out why I'm not at the office as well. That's because when they go home at 5 o'clock, I might not get home until midnight or when they're doing what they enjoy on weekends, I'm working, often going from one event to another all day and sometimes I still can't get to everything. But that's my job and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Which calls I answer, though, is up to me.