Non Sequitur: The phone! The phone is ringing!


I received two phone calls on my work cell phone yesterday morning. Normally, talking on the phone isn’t something I write about, but my work cell phone and I have something of a storied past. Yesterday morning, a woman called looking for Roger.

ME: Hello.

WOMAN: Roger, this is [name], I need to…

ME: Hold on, I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number.

WOMAN (sounding irate): But this is the number my aunt gave me.

ME: Well, this is [phone number, including area code] and there is no Roger here.

A moment later, the phone rang again.

ME: Hello.

SAME WOMAN (of course): Is this Roger?

Now, I understand that wrong numbers are going to happen. People make mistakes when they dial or they don’t recall a number correctly or they’re given a number that someone else failed to remember correctly. I don’t have a problem with being on the receiving end of someone else’s error, so long as the wrong number dialer does not act like it is somehow my fault that the number they dialed is for my phone. As if irately informing me that their aunt gave them the number is going to make me say, “Oh, your aunt gave you the number! Well, let me go get Roger, then!”

As wrong numbers go, though, woman whose aunt gave her my number instead of Roger’s was actually pretty mild. A couple of years ago, I got a series of calls that resulted in me getting a new cell phone number.

I was at work when my cell phone rang. I answered, and a woman asked me whether I was selling a house. I assured her I was not, and she confessed that she was a real estate agent and could not understand why she had my number. I told her I had no idea, as the number was my work cell phone, I’d only had the phone for a short time, and I wasn’t in the market for a new house nor was I trying to sell one. Then she asked if perhaps I was planning to throw a party; she was also a party planner and perhaps I was one of her clients. She apologized and ended the call.

Five minutes later, my cell phone rang again. The caller ID showed that it was a restricted caller, which should have made me suspicious, but I answered anyway. After saying “hello” several time and receiving only silence in response, I hung up.

Shortly thereafter, the phone rang again. It was the real estate agent/party planner, and she was crying. Her husband, it seems, had found my cell phone number written on a piece of paper in her car. As she had no explanation for who I was or why she had my number, the obvious conclusion her husband reached was that I was having an affair with his wife. I assured her that I had no idea how my number could have gotten in her car and that I had no idea who (if anyone) might have been using the number prior to it being assigned to me. The woman was very upset, but there was really nothing I could do.

I’m guessing the second phone call was from the husband, verifying that I was a wife-stealing bastard. Given the fact that a suspicious (and very likely quite angry) husband had my cell phone number, one of my co-workers suggested that I should change the number, which I did. I have no idea what happened to the real estate agent/party planner, but she did sound kind of hot I thought it was sad that her husband clearly didn’t trust her.

Last but not least in the saga of my work cell phone is Lawrence’s uncle. In October of 2004, I began to receive messages from a man with a very thick accent that I took to be Jamaican. Unfortunately, I was unable to make heads or tails from them. I only spoke to Lawrence’s uncle once (he had the uncanny ability to call me when I was away from my cell phone, however briefly) and assured him that there was no Lawrence at the number he was calling. Undeterred, Lawrence’s uncle continued to leave messages.

The final message from Lawrence’s uncle was, simply put, hilarious. So much so that I went to some lengths to preserve it for posterity. Here is my best attempt at transcribing the last message from Lawrence’s uncle:

Hi, Lawrence. What’s up? You no longer callin’ all ya? I’ll die callin’ all ya, and you’ll never answer me. Bye.

I wonder if Lawrence’s uncle is married to the aunt of the woman who called me yesterday. That might explain a lot.

10 responses to “Non Sequitur: The phone! The phone is ringing!”

  1. P.G. Holyfield Avatar

    I work at a large bank (over 10,000 people work at the campus I work at), and I do training classes in one of the computer labs. One day I was teaching a class and the phone in the room rang… and rang… and rang. Usually I ignore the phone, as it is usually a wrong number. But the person just kept calling back. So I finally answer the phone, and here’s the conversation:

    “Welcome to [bank name], this is Patrick Holyfield. Can I help you?”

    “I need to talk to Larry.”

    “There is no Larry here. You have the wrong number.”

    “No, this is the right number. Get Larry on the da$# phone.”

    “Sir, you’ve reached a training room. This isn’t Larry or anyone else’s phone.”

    “Larry [last name]… can you give me his new number?”

    (After looking up Larry on the corp. directory and seeing no one by that name).

    “I’m sorry sir, but there is no one on the directory with that name. Larry must not work here any longer. You have a nice day.”

    “F$#k you and tell Larry he’d better call me today.” Click.

    I love that guy.

  2. KJToo Avatar

    Holy crap, that’s brilliant! Beats woman whose aunt gave her my number instead of Roger’s by a country mile!

  3. P.G. Holyfield Avatar

    [Comment ID #8347 Will Be Quoted Here]
    But doesn’t touch the man that thinks you were having a thing with his wife. That’s classic… actually, that would make a good start for a noir novel/movie.

  4. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #8356 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I get enough regular old boring wrong numbers that I’m tempted to just answer the phone with that quote when I see a number I don’t recognize.

  5. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #8376 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Yeah, I could see that. It might even turn into a man on the run story when the misinformed, violent husband comes after the poor sap who had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of the wrong numbers.

  6. Greg Avatar

    Recently, a girl I work with got a message left on her work phone at 2am. It basically said “Hi Steve. I had a really great time tonight. Call me.” She didn’t think much of it after that until she got a call about a week later with a woman asking for Steve. She assured the woman that it was her work number, but I still think she should have pretended to be Steve’s wife.

    We think that Steve had a one-night stand with the woman and gave her a fake number.

  7. Greg Avatar

    KJ – you have a Nextel phone, don’t you?

  8. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #8395 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I did when Lawrence’s uncle called me; now I’ve got a Treo 650.

    I don’t know if current Nextel phones cause that same oscillating lawn sprinkler interference they did a couple of years ago.

  9. […] back in the rough and tumble days of early 2007, I told you about some of the folks who have called my work cell phone looking for someone who is clearly not me. I don’t know what it is, but the phone attracts wrong numbers. Usually I just politely […]

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