This is half in jest, but half serious too.
The vast majority of the riders at the Allegany Shut Up and Ride are emailers like me. They email me, they download their entry form off the internet, they email questions, etc. Groovy! I have a return email, I can take my time responding after checking on something, and I can track them down again if something comes up. I love technology!
But I realize not everyone is into computers, and I do get phone calls with questions, or requests for entry forms, and like most horse people, I'm rarely in the house and rely heavily on my dreaded answering machine.
Like everyone, I hate talking on answering machines ... but at the moment I'm in a quandary because I got two totally unintelligible messages and no way to figure out who sent them!
If you leave a message for a Ride Manager (or hell, anyone), please:
1.) Speak slowly and clearly. You know your name and your address and your phone number and can pe el it off faster than they read those legalese disclaimers on the pharmaceutical ads saying that you might experience oily discharge and seizures, but I don't, and when you say it four hundred MPH, I end up rewinding the tape 12 times to try to catch it, and end up guessing at half of it anyway. You're allowed to repeat it too, to make sure I got it the first time.
2.) Enunciate. If you have a mouthful of Cheerios, please chew and swallow before leaving a message on my answering machine. Likewise, if you're drinking heavily, you may want to call back when you're a bit sobered up.
3.) If you hear an odd beep while leaving your message, and mind you, I'm no mechanical genius, something probably went wrong. Maybe the message went through, maybe it didn't, but please call back and leave the message again. I can easily delete a repeat message, or can use it to try to interpret your phone number because you messed up #1, but if I only got your area code and then a dial tone, it's hard to call you back.
4.) If you don't hear from me, either with an entry in the mail or a call back, within a few days, please call me back. Something went wrong and my Catholic guilt will be great relieved if you don't think I'm just ignoring you because I'm mean. Actually, I am mean, but I am good about returning phone calls.
--Patti Stedman (NE)
P.S. If you are "Debbie" and have a 585 area code, or you left a message and were a little confused about which answering machine mailbox to use and therefore mumbled into the one you chose, and haven't heard back from me, please call me back.