But then my Middle Child insecurity kicks in. What if it’s not credit card lady, computer dude, that really friendly robot, or my Slavic sweetheart? What if this number I’ve never seen before is someone I actually do know? Maybe they got a new number and the very reason they’re calling me is to let me know that if I see this number, I should know it’s them, and not some spammer. Or maybe it’s someone I used to know. Maybe it’s an old childhood friend who has spent hours upon hours and tracked me down after all these years and desperately wants to reconnect. I’m just going to ignore their call after all the hard work they went through to find me? That’s messed up! How would I feel if someone did that to me? As you might have guessed, pretty terrible. With each ring, the doubt builds and temptation grows until it’s too much for me to resist. And that’s how they get me. Every. Single. Time.
It’s quite pathetic, but totally understandable. It’s also nothing new. This goes all the way back to when I was a child -- before cell phones were even a thing and were just some crazy idea on “The Jetsons” or “Get Smart.” Back then, I was obsessed about getting mail. I wrote in a previous post about how I was always writing letters to politicians, tourism departments, television networks -- even NASA -- just so I could be assured of receiving a daily dose of postal attention in return. I couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could check the mail. There were even days when I pretended to be sick just so I could be home when the mail arrived. So is it really any wonder that I have a hard time not answering when my phone rings, even though I know there’s no reason to?
I particularly enjoy flipping the script on my newfound phone friends. After answering questions about everything from how many cars I own to how many TVs are in my house, I asked one curious caller if he would now answer a few questions, then I proceeded to inquire about his TV viewing habits, home ownership, airline preference, and more. He actually was answering my questions, until he got so frustrated he told me -- wait for it -- “I don’t have time for this!” And he hung up on me. I thought that was particularly ironic.
While most people happily sign up for the “DO NOT CALL” list, I'll pass. Instead, telemarketers will probably place me on their own “DON'T BOTHER CALLING THIS GUY ” registry. But I hope not.