Every weeknight night, between five and nine in the evening, the phone rings at least once. Most nights it rings at least twice, occasionally three times. Whoever is calling waits for the answering machine to pick up. Then they hang up.
The only people who ever call us on our land line are people reminding us of appointments, the pest control company, and the random survey person. The pest control company and the people calling about appointments always leave a message. Even the wrong numbers sometimes leave messages. Somebody named Gloria used to drunk dial a guy named Carlos a few years ago, for instance. I guess that she sobered up enough to realize that she was calling us with her tale of woe.
But these guys? Never leave a message. They. Just. Keep. Calling.
Who the heck is it?
Is it a bill collector gone bad? We've paid everything this year, but I've read that sometimes these guys will just randomly call people to see if they owe somebody money.
Could it be a salesperson? What the heck could they be selling over the phone? Aluminum siding? Not really a good idea, particularly in a place where the temperatures during the summer hit 100.
Maybe it's the NSA. They've mined some important data from my phone records, and they want to ask me about a particular call back in the summer of 1986. The fate of the world might hang in the balance! Or not.
Could it be Publisher's Clearing House, telling me I've won a bazillion dollars, paid in installments every year until the sun explodes. Nah--those guys show up at the door.
Maybe it's people doing phone scams. If I answer, maybe they'll try to sell me a life insurance policy for my cats. Maybe they'll ask me about what happens when I fall and can't get up. Maybe they'll try to con me into loaning some Nigerian prince some money.
We just don't know.
So we don't answer the phone. We decided that, if it was someone important, they would leave a message on our land line. No message equals not important.
We probably should just get rid of the land line; that would solve our problem. But I'm old fashioned. I grew up with a land line, attached to the wall in the kitchen. When I was a teen, I was attached to that phone, even when I had to pull that cord and earpiece around the corner "for privacy". I don't want to let go of that invisible cord just yet.
Besides, land lines might come back into fashion some day. And then we'll be the cool kids on the block. The cool kids who won't answer their phone.
4.) Who was the last person to call you…what did they want this time?