I sat with my coffee cup suction cupped to my lips, barely registering the time on my phone at 8 AM.
In case you didn’t know, there’s one of those in the morning, too.
I’d been up for an hour prepping for phone interviews for a USA Today piece. I still wasn’t quite awake but I never fully got to sleep the night before. So it just felt like I was living in a constant fog. I kept having nightmares that my voice recorder erased my phone interview with country’s hottest new male artist, Dustin Lynch.
When I first jolted awake from the dream, I couldn’t decipher if it had actually happened, was a warning, or just anxiety. But it had kept me from returning to REM sleep since about 5.
I KNOW. There’s one of THOSE in the morning, TOO. Shocking.
So here I was, laptop propped up on a pillow with my back against the wall. My bedroom door was shut tight so my sleeping nocturnal roommate would not be disturbed.
And yes, this is how I typically conduct my phone interviews at ungodly hours. But I actually got out of my PJ’s today. I did have a chart-topping, CMA & ACA nominated country artist (who ALSO just got done touring with my favorite country superstar, Keith Urban) calling. I had to class it up a little.
He was coming to the ACMs in a few short days and would be performing at The All-Star Guitar Pull benefiting St. Jude’s the Thursday before the Award’s show. I was just looking to get a few quotes from him and Stoney Creek Record’s newest guitar goddess, Lindsay Ell, for a buzz piece. I had all my questions and recorder ready to go. All I had to do was kill approximately eight minutes.
I read through his online bio. Not only had he performed at the infamous Bluebird Cafe, once he got signed he wrote over 200 songs in two years, proving his value as a songwriter. His hit, Cowboys and Angels, played on repeat in my head. Needless to say, I enjoyed his music.
8:30 hit and no call. Not unusual; sometimes they’d wait up to ten minutes after the scheduled time just to ensure I was there. I looked at my phone and then hopped on Facebook.
About 8:50 I started getting squirrely. Had I messed up the time difference between Tennessee and Nevada? I sent over a quick e-mail to his PR rep, not sweating it.
Suddenly, my phone rang. It was the PR Rep. I answered with a chipper, “Hey there.”
“Hey Hilary,” she said in a confused tone. “Dustin’s manager said he tried calling you but it went straight to voicemail. And I just tried calling you and the same thing happened. Is everything okay?”
“WHAT?!?” Was all I could muster. NOW I was awake. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened. I’ve been sitting RIGHT HERE waiting for the call…” I didn’t understand.
“It’s no problem,” she said sweetly, like the DOLL that she is. “I’ll just have him call back.” Then she paused. “But wait, you have your call with Lindsay shortly, yes? Okay… I’ll get in touch with her and move it back a few.”
I felt so scattered. “Thank you so much!” I rambled. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened…”
I could hear her smiling patiently through the phone. “It’s no biggie. I’ll chat with you soon.”
She hung up. I sat there in stunned silence. How did I MISS his phone call? I was staring RIGHT AT my phone.
I went through my call history. Suddenly his missed calls popped up along with a voicemail. Why didn’t it ring?
I didn’t have time to think too much. Suddenly the number was calling back. I answered breathless. I might as well have still been in PJs, as together as I sounded. “Hi, this is Hilary.”
“Hi Hilary, this is Dustin,” he said in a chipper Southern twang. “Do you still have time to talk?”
“Of course—” I started. Then my phone started beeping… Another call from a number I didn’t recognize. Crap. This must be Lindsay. I didn’t know what to do. “Dustin, I’m so sorry, would you mind if I put you on a brief hold? I have another artist coming through and I just need to push back her interview time.”
He merrily obliged and I switched over. And then I realized what I’d done.
I JUST PUT DUSTIN LYNCH ON HOLD.
Lindsay was as sweet as tea, also willing to be flexible. I hung up with her only to realize I’d lost the connection with Dustin. SERIOUSLY? I called him back.
If there was ever a day to judge me on my professionalism, this was not it.
Lynch was very kind and we started our interview. He indulged my questioning and I hung up approximately ten minutes later, feeling I’d gotten what I needed (and hoping I hadn’t inconvenienced him too much).
I took a deep breath and dialed Lindsay back, apologizing profusely. She too, was kind and flexible. We wrapped up her interview in under ten minutes and ended our conversation with me REALLY looking forward to meeting her in Vegas. Having just finished opening an international tour for The Band Perry and having toured with Keith Urban herself, I KNEW she must have some good stories.
All had ended well, but I was still feeling really uneasy about why my phone didn’t ring. What was the deal?
And then it hit me: like a chicken flying through a car window.
I’d forgotten to adjust my Do Not Disturb setting on my iPhone.
With all the preparation, arranging, and mustering it took to get me awake and ready to interview these delightful people… And I forget to turn off the phone deadener?
This amazing little invention, that kept my phone from buzzing with every text, e-mail, and phone call during my normal hours of sleep ALSO had this handy trick of forwarding any calls directly to voicemail unless they called twice. My usual DND ended at 9AM.
In my defense, with my schedule it was the only way I could ensure I actually slept.
But forgetting to turn it off… Well, let’s just say I’ll never ever EVER do THAT again. #FacePalm
However, I would realize later that if it wasn’t for me forgetting to turn off my Do Not Disturb function, I would not have this delightfully hilarious and charming voicemail from the Cowboys and Angels crooner.
So maybe it all worked out the way that it was supposed to. :)