There was a WESat writing challenge a while back “A Different Phone Call”. I’m a bit slow on taking up the challenge, but I’ve kept the idea in my inbox since I knew just what call to write about. It was a wrong number of the epic variety, but it started mildly enough….
“Is Michael there?” asked a female voice.
I hear this question a lot when I answer the phone – my husband’s name is, coincidentally, Michael. I say “coincidentally” because as I’ve mentioned, this is a wrong number. Only I didn’t know it at first and neither did the caller. Michael is a common enough name, I’m only surprised this hasn’t happened before.
If it had been any other name, I would have dialed up my standard wrong-number response, but instead I used my typical he’s-not-here-at-the-moment response.
This sent two messages to the caller: 1) she had dialed the correct number – because what are the chances of dialing a wrong number, but getting the right name? and 2) there was a woman she didn’t know answering her Michael’s phone.
Focusing on #2, pleasantries took a nose dive and abuse started flying out of the receiver. Swear words comprised the bulk of the message, “I knew it!” was a common theme and “Bitch” was bandied about quite a lot.
Of course, I tried to protest, realizing (belatedly) that there had been a terrible mistake. But it was too late. I had already admitted that this was Michael’s phone – and it was a Michael’s phone just not her Michael’s phone.
Somehow the caller chose to assume that I was now lying trying to save Michael (hers) from the Wrath of the Girlfriend.
“I know he’s there!” the caller insisted. “Put him on!”
At this point, I would have gladly done so if I could have done so, but when I’d said “he’s not here” what I really meant was that the “he” in question (AKA my husband) was traveling – in the Ukraine – and when I said “at the moment” what I’d meant was that he’d be back a week next Tuesday.
In the end, I hung up. There was nothing else I could do, there was no talking her down.
My new friend must have hit redial because the phone rang again almost immediately. I didn’t want a re-run of the conversation, so I hid in a corner and let it go to voice mail and she screamed it out. The answering machine wasn’t up to much after that.
Hint – if you’ve dialed the number wrong in the first place, redial isn’t going to help. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
Somewhere in the tirade, she must have rattled off the number she was intending to call. So, after everything had gone quiet, I tentatively took the phone off of the cradle, fully expecting it to be hot with the abuse, and dialed a number only one digit removed from my own.
“Is Michael there?”
I thought I should warn him.
I’m Jae and this message has been posted to the wrong blog.