May 19, 2013
Written by Ellen Beveridge
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:23
Yes, ring, ring, ring — that sound is the bane of my existence of late as my annoyance and frustration mounts.
That's because I've had an unwelcome rash of telephone calls; I counted three within an hour one evening. I answer the phone with a cheery "Good morning," if it is that time of day, or the standard "hello." But there is no one on the line.
Once, only once during the myriad of calls was there a distinct "click," and I knew someone evidently had my phone number but rudely hung up. Did the caller not recognize my voice and quit without a word, or was it some prank? I'll never know.
But mostly there is a pregnant pause when I answer. At first, I opted to end the call in a hurry and not give time for anyone, or a machine to click on when I had no desire to waste my time.
Then I decided on another tactic: I would hold the phone open and see what happened.
Sure enough, after a few seconds, a voice would come on. Often as not it would be a recorded message, and I would hang up, knowing it was useless to respond to a machine.
There was one exception when I stayed on the line to listen to a message that told about the many recent burglaries in my neighbor; that there was help for me by just pressing "one" on my phone to learn more. I never did press the key.
Several machine generated calls have been geared for the senior citizen, so I presume my status has been well established somewhere out there.
Then again, I'd get a real voice. Here are a couple of examples:
"Is this Ellen?" (How cheeky when it's someone I don't even know!)
"Yes," I reply in a guarded voice.
Here comes the spiel: This one is about an opinion survey on childhood inoculations, of all things.
"How did you get my name and number?" I ask with an edge to my voice.
"Your name is in my computer."
"Well, take it out," and I hang up.
Another time, when there's a live voice but I'm not called by name, I start all over again.
"How did you get my number?"
"This is a random call, and your number came up on the computer."
"Please," I say, trying to sound more polite this time, "remove my number from your computer."
Early on, when I would hear the phone ring, I would immediately think of my daughters, granddaughters, other relatives, friends or acquaintances on the other end of the line. All these possibilities would run through my mind as I went to the phone. But lately, imagine my surprise and relief when I hear the voice of someone I know.
I have a land line, and a wall phone in the kitchen and a portable phone in the bedroom. Sometimes, settled in with a book in hand in an easy chair in the living room or on the couch watching television, rousing myself and getting to the phone takes a bit of doing.
It's times like this that the frustration mounts. To help mitigate the situation, I try to remember to bring the portable into the room with me.
Another problem is that the calls often come at inopportune times. I'm in the shower, I'm in the middle of dinner (a common time for these calls) or out in the yard when I hear the ring and can't get to the phone in time. No, I do not have caller ID, so I always feel I must answer because it might be an important call.
So, Alexander Graham Bell, from my perspective, I have a bone to pick with you!
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