I think it's particularly true on campuses that there's a lot of no man's land: random seating areas or desks for any student or faculty member that might be looking for a place to get some work done.
In particular, there's one desk that I often pass at work. Instead of being a clearly unclaimed, open-for-business study carel, it looks like it could be someone's desk. It is a good-sized desk, with drawers. Pamphlets about tutoring and internships are littered across the desk's surface. And on one corner of the desk is a phone.
This is the part that makes me wonder. It's a VOIP phone with a red light on the handset that lights up when there's unheard voicemail in this particular extension's mailbox. And, for the past several weeks, that red light has been lit every time I walk by.
I can't help but think about the unheard voicemail. Who was calling? What did he want? Does she expect an answer in a timely manner? Is there one message, or several? Is some lazy professor giving out this extension as a way to get out of contact with students?
Why is the idea of unheard voicemail so troubling to me? I think it's something akin to the idea of a tree falling in a forest. If you completed your task (the phone call), but no one is there to hear it, isn't it like you haven't accomplished anything?