Have you ever called someone up, and you’re disappointed when they answer the phone? You wanted the machine. You know, and you’re always kind of thrown off, you go “Oh, I eh, I – I didn’t know you were there, I ah – just wanted to leave a message saying, sorry I missed you.”
So here what we have is two people who hate each other, don’t really ever want to talk, but the phone machine is like this relationship respirator keeping these marginal brain dead relationships alive. And we all do it — Why? So that when we come home, you can see that little flashing red light. You go “all right, messages.” You see, people need that. It’s very important for human beings to feel they are popular and well liked amongst a large group of people that we don’t care for.
From Jerry’s opening monologue of “The Bubble Boy” episode which originally aired in 1992.