Every time it rings, if I answer, I know not if the caller is a friend or an enemy. Or a robot calling to sell me aluminium siding. All I know is that some small part of the world is attempting to breach my redoubt.
You youngsters have no idea.
One hears the ring. One's head turns, an atavistic remnant of our deep hominid history, when almost every sound had its individual Significance.
One hears the second ring and one's body tenses. Flight or fight? Not quite. Yet one's body moves; a decision must be made. To tear one's eyes from pixels and flex one's muscular thighs, or to simply let the caller reach the digital copy of my long-winded voice?
The last time the unit burbled its pale echo of a mechanical ringing, I chose the latter. Rushed to it and lifted the handset to my hear.
"Hello?" I said, with no idea whether I was opening myself to well-loved comrade, to much-loathed creditor or to something even worse, some twisted and indescribable horror seeking to consume my soul through the fragile copper wire.
"Hello." The voice was a poorly-synthesized simulacrum of a female, h. sap. sap., the auditory equivalent of unbuttered toast, left on a plate hours after it was meant to be eaten. "You have been chosen" -
"Fuck off," I said, "I don't talk to machines," knowing, even as I slammed the hand-set into its cradle, that I had made of myself a liar.
I need call-display.