"Hah" is a version of "huh" with a short A vowel sound.
Louder, as if I didn’t know her response is habit, I say "I said, they have me on ignore."
Our intercoms at work are from the 80’s, perhaps mid to early 80’s, or before. Frankly, I’ve seen better systems in B&W Bogart B flicks. The phones are pulse instead of dial. How far back does that go? But, you know, "If it’s not broke, don’t fix it." I thought it’s supposed to be "brokEN," but what do I know?
There are other ways to be "on ignore." In a world full of cell phones, voice mail, pagers, Blueberries (what? Blackberries? Who names this stuff?), email, text messaging, and whatever else, isn’t being left alone and being in control, responding at my personal convenience a goal? That depends. Some may see these advances as another form of a black hole.
Eye contact and verbal as well a physical response is food for the soul. A response indicates we matter, we exist, we are worth attention.
What happens when a parent calls a child to dinner and the child does not respond? If the parent is really the parent, the child will ultimately wish he had responded before the parent’s queries escalated into something unpleasant. People want a response to the first reasonable contact effort, not the 10th, not the 4th, not nothing.
We check our email to see if anyone wanted to contact us for anything and to see if someone we sent an email to responded. The first thing we look at when we get home at day’s end is the answering machine.
Way back before this flurry of options in communication technology, before Mr. Bell spilled acid on himself and yelled over the first phone line (I’ll bet he was really interested in a response!), we had paper and ink. As a genealogist, I highly respect notes and letters. My mother and her sister, my Aunt Elva, had an ongoing letter writing conversation. More than a few weeks would pass and one of them would fire off another letter chewing the other out — "sorry about your broken arm" — for lack of response at which point the ensuing response would suggest that the other was in error (that’s "full of beans" for the lay person). They had fun, too. Neither of them were upset at being chewed. Guilt was not a verb then.
Future genealogists will have nothing to save in scrapbooks if no one prints emails.
At work, the person on the other end of the intercom is likely out of earshot. That’s understandable. Email may not be checked for hours. Hollering down the hallway is seldom an option. Not professional, either. So we get out of our chairs and hunt ’em down if it’s important enough. They weren’t ignoring me. They just hadn’t gotten the message yet.