One of my pet peeves is people who don’t practice polite phone etiquette. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has called our house in the last year, thinking they were getting a hurricane shutter store, and then abruptly hung up on me when I tell them in my most polite voice, “I’m sorry, but you have the wrong number.”
Here’s how I was raised. Should I inadvertently dial the wrong number, I apologize to the person on the other end of the line for bothering them. It takes no effort. That’s just being polite. Period.
I just don’t get where people have the idea that when they call the wrong number, they can just hang up without so much as an “oops.”
And people who let their children answer the phone, “Yeah?” OH!!!!! Don’t get me started.
A couple of weeks ago, an elderly lady called the house. I was working at the computer, and Jensen was quietly sitting on the floor, staring googoo eyed at the DVD image of his future wife, Minnie Mouse.
The birds were singing, and there was peace in my valley.
I answered the phone, and this rather hard of hearing older woman of about 112 hollered into the phone a name that was unintelligible.
I responded with my usual polite, “I’m sorry ma’am, but you have the wrong number.”
She slammed the phone down in my ear.
A moment later, the phone rang again. The situation repeated itself 3 more times. Each time she hung up on me. And I uncharacteristically became even more polite.
After one of her calls, when I explained AGAIN that she had reached the wrong number, she responded with “Well, I’ll be d****ed. And she hung up.
And she called again. But this time she started ranting at me. “Somebody from your number keeps calling here because it shows up on my thingie!”
I assumed that by thingie, she meant that she had caller i.d. I told her that no one had called her from my residence, and she argued the point with me a bit longer. (And I was certain of this because A) I’m still in enough control of my faculties to know when I call someone, and B) my eyes were on Jensen the entire time.
She cursed me out a little bit more, and finally she hung up. For the last time. I kind of wished I’d utilized caller i.d. called her back to tell her that she owed my cuss jar $1245.00.
Then last night the phone rang. A computerized operator told me that I had a collect call from (name unintelligible) at the county jail. I knew that if I stayed on the line two more seconds, I would be receiver to receiver with more than likely, a convicted felon. Wanted for who knows what kind of heinous crime.
I did want any well mannered person would do.
I panicked and hung up on him.
And believe me, in the span of 3 seconds, I consulted my mental checklist of any and all relatives, and concluded that none had been jailed recently.
I felt a little bit bad afterwards. Instead of my usual customary polite, “I’m sorry, but you have the wrong number” I HUNG UP ON SOMEONE. A CRIMINAL, BUT NEVERTHELESS A REAL PERSON. WITH REAL FEELINGS.
I was probably his one and only call. I’ve watched Barnaby Jones, you now. You only get one call from jail.
And I was it.
If the alleged criminal should call again, I think I’ll give him the number of the crusty little old lady. Reach out and touch someone, I say.
Everybody needs someone to talk to.