I’d pick up but …

If you ever need to get in touch with me, don’t call.  At least, don’t call my home phone.  It’s likely I won’t answer, even if the receiver is within easy reach.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you.

I do.

Well, I probably do.

But when our home phone rings, I usually don’t bother to stir myself because, more often than not, there will be no one to talk with on the other end.

Outside of our daughter’s BFF across the street, I can’t remember the last time a real live human being called our house.  Generally speaking, people who want to talk to me have my cell phone number.  Telemarketers, scammers, and robo-callers have my home number.  This has been confirmed over and over again.

In the weak moments when either my wife or I actually pick-up after skeptically scanning the caller ID, we are almost always greeted by a pre-recorded message of some sort.  Often it’s an automated call for someone named Linda, who apparently has bad debts.

We began getting calls from debt collectors looking for Linda from the moment we moved into our house eight years ago.  We’ve gotten so many, they’ve become part of the rhythm of living here.

“Who was that?” I’ll ask when my wife gives in to the insistent ringing.

“It was for Linda,” she’ll say, hanging up without uttering a word beyond “hello.”

While it’s nice to know that someone else’s bank account is in worse shape than mine, I could do without calls from automated debt collectors.

Back when telemarketers actually employed real people you could have some fun.

For example, I once stopped one halfway through her spiel and told her I was the janitor.

“Oh,” she said. “if this is a place of business I can take you off our call list.”

While my wife may dispute my janitorial skills, I think I take care of a lot business at my house. I just didn’t mention that most of it is the kind you flush.

“Why, yes,” I confirmed. “This is a place of business.”

These days, you can’t even scam the scammers.  Now, they use disembodied voices that defy interaction beyond following their suggestion to press “one” to go to the next level of frustration.

While I often wonder why we are still paying for a landline when we could just get rid of it, I have to admit that cell phones are not exactly immune, either.

Just last week, I received a text message informing me that I had won a one-thousand dollar gift card from Target. For a moment, I saw a huge big screen TV in our family room . One with a picture so realistic that when it shows video of the beach, you feel like you could reach out and touch the sand and feel the ocean breeze. Then I went online and found out it was just another scam.

If our big dog Rodney had opposable thumbs, I’d have him answer the phone. But then he’d probably just fall for whatever scam he’s being pitched.  Our cat Skitty would be less gullible but if there’s food involved, she’d gladly write a check drawing on my account to pay Linda’s debts.

The point of all this is to say if you call our house please don’t be offended if even our pets won’t come to the phone.

And be sure to leave a message so I can call you back.

I promise I won’t be annoyed if I get your answering service.

I’ll just assume you’re avoiding unwanted calls, too.


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