Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Everybody's Talking at Me

Last week, I was at an evening meeting when a man with a Southern accent called my home and asked to speak with me, calling me by my first name.

"She's not here," Ty responded. "Would you like to leave a message?"

"No, thanks, that's okay, I'll call back."

I spent the next several days wondering who this mysterious "gentleman caller" had been. Was he the long-lost gay friend with whom I had traveled through Europe? A former colleague? A wrong number who, by coincidence, had asked for the right name? A first husband I had forgotten about because I got amnesia, a la a Lifetime movie? But for the big surgical incision on my stomach and my lack of interest in having strange people stand near me or talk to me, let alone touch me, Ty probably would have thought I was having an affair.

The mystery was solved a few days later when the guy called, again at dinnertime. I answered, and he told me I had been specially selected to take part in a survey. Much ado about nothing! I was so disappointed that I was tempted to tell him all the various scenarios I had envisioned, how much psychic energy he had cost me, and, if he was such a gentleman, he should have known to refer to me as "Ms. ______," since he and I had no prior acquaintanceship. I may be a rude Yankee, but I would never call him up and say, "Is Bob there?" when his wife answered! Instead, I just told him I wasn't interested and I hung up.

In response to such incidents, Ty and I have taken to dramatically lowering the ringer volume on our telephone at strategic times during the day. We often "forget" to increase it later, which, so far, is working out just swimmingly. It can, occasionally, be disconcerting when we don't hear the phone ring and then, all of a sudden, we hear Uncle Jack talking in our apartment, leaving us a message, but that's far, far more pleasant than the cable company, the phone company, and certain pseudogentlemen intruding into our pan-seared loin of pork with sage.

If your telephone has an adjustable ringer, my tip of the day is that you make good use of it. It may be the best quality-of-life change you've ever made.


Blogger mama_tulip said...

My ringer's turned down so low I can hardly hear it. And that's okay with me. I'm almost as phone-phobic as I am doorbell phobic.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

LOL about the ringer - half of the time, we can't find the damn phone and it turns out it's in the garage on the workbench or outside on the patio.

We are having the yummiest flank steak tonight for dinner - it's been marinating in my fridge for a day. Is it strange that it's 10:30 and I'm already psyched about dinner!!! lol.

1:37 PM  
Blogger FA said...

I love the phone idea. Come to think of it, I may turn down the answering machine as well.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

All I can say is thank Ganesha for caller ID & voicemail. We get so many calls from "unknowns" and 800 numbers it's ridiculous.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I hear you on this. We don't even answer our home phone anymore. Truly. If it's anyone worth talking to, they'll have our cell numbers. And Mama T I'm so with you on the doorbell thing.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Our home phone rings like a bird and my cell phone rings like a cricket. I usually don't answer either one, and around dinner time it sounds like a cheap sound backdrop to the Family Ties camping episode.

10:12 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I have no problem NOT answering a phone. Never call us at dinner time because none of us even acknowledge or wonder who it is.

Sorry your mystery man wasn't more of a mystery.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

When my kids were babies, I turned off the ringer on the phone because I had a REAL phone back then with one of those real loud "bell" rings. Worked very well.

One note about caller ID and screening devices on phones. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to call family or friends and not been able to get through or even leave a message. Living in Belgium, I'm automatically blocked and because my number is weird, no one has been able to "over ride" it on their machines (they can't punch it in in a format the screening device will recognize.) But even before we moved overseas, we had trouble calling my husband's mother and his brother as well as my sister. Just a bit of info for those of you who use those systems--they're not perfect!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Dude...I turn my ringer off every single morning when I put the baby down and try to nap myself. But I often forget to turn it back on and miss a ton of calls. I totally agree, silence can be golden, particularly during the pan-seared pork. (I recently acquired a fabulous cast iron skillet and have been pan-searing everything...lol)

11:15 PM  

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