Our home phone has become a curio, an anachronism from a bygone era that continues to take up kitchen space more out of sheer habit and a reluctance to part from tradition than for any practical purpose. Anyone worth talking to contacts us on our cell phones. The house phone, meanwhile, serves as a spam folder of sorts, storing the queries and congratulations of every retail outlet, political campaign, and fundraising drive foolish enough to believe we a) answer our home phone and/or b) will get back to them. Once or twice a week, the phone will ring and, out of curiosity, I’ll glance at the call display. Always an unfamiliar number. “Don’t answer it!”Fondy calls out from wherever she happens to be in the house. As if I didn’t know better.
Like today for instance when curiosity got the better of me and, with Fondy not around to remind me “Don’t answer it!”, I picked up. “Hello?” “Hello and how are you today, sir?“ Damnit! It was a local charity fundraising drive. And not just any local charity fundraising drive. It was the local policeman’s charity fundraising drive. Normally, I have no problem saying no to anyone that cold calls me at home, but if it’s the local police or fire department, that’s another matter. I know it’s ridiculous, but every time it happens, the highly improbable absolute worst case scenario always runs through my mind.
Two weeks later:
Me: Help! Someone’s trying to break into my house!
911 Operator: Mmmm, yeah. A police cruiser is on it’s way – but there’s no guarantee it won’t run out of gas before it gets there. Boy, now that I think about it, that lousy ten dollar contribution could’ve been a real lifesaver.
Me: What’s the problem, officer?
Officer: You were doing 51 in a 50 zone. Also, your windshield wipers match the description of a set stolen the other day. I’m afraid I’m going to have to impound your car.
Of course, I should’ve just said no. Instead, I urged the caller to try me again in a couple of months when my situation would be more amenable to making a charitable contribution. And, hopefully, Fondy would be around to yell “Don’t answer it!”.
Hey, came across something of interest to all you avid readers out there. Apex Publications, which publishes the critically acclaimed Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, is offering an APEX FOR LIFE subscription that, in their words “gives you Apex until you die.” Check out the website for details and some free fiction:
I’ll be getting myself a subscription. Oh, and Sylvia and fsmn36, as the lucky winners of the last Book of the Month Club discussion random draw, you’ll both be receiving lifetime subscriptions as well. I’ll be in touch!
Now go watch the Survivor season finale and root for Cirie.