Probably smarter people with caller ID have been doing this all along, but I am writing today to tell one and all that I am no longer answering the phone if I don’t recognize the number.
Please. Leave a message. If I am home, I will call you back immediately. If I am not at home or if the power is out (again), I will call you when I return and/or when the phone is back in order. And if I don’t want to talk to you, well, let’s just blame it on Time Warner voice mail, hmm?
The thing is, I am constantly being suckered in to answering calls from numbers with vaguely familiar area codes. Or, if the city ID is a place where I have friends, I can’t resist picking up the phone. Why? Curiosity and an overactive imagination are my downfall.
What if it’s someone I haven’t talked to in years? Some old buddy who, against all odds, has tracked me down to Madison, Ohio, and wants to take me along on a free trip to Spain? Or, what if it’s Publisher’s Clearing House and they want to be sure I’m home so they can surprise me with a big check (never mind that I never enter the sweepstakes)?
I really don’t want to miss a call like that.But of course, these calls are always from organizations asking for money. The conversations usually go something like this:
Person on the other end (POE): Is this Kathleen MayHAR?
Me: (Oh crap . . . again) yeeeeeeeees . . . .
POE: Today I’m not calling you for any money. I am just asking for your time. Could you find it in your heart to mail out 300 letters to your neighbors in North Madison asking them to join you in supporting The Coalition to Prevent Cruelty to Two-Legged Farm Animals?
Me: The coalition to what . . . ?
POE: We are a new organization dedicated to protecting the rights and humane treatment of two-legged farm animals across our great country.
Me: Are you talking about, like, chickens and ducks and such?
POE: Yes! And geese, turkeys and for that matter, any animal struggling to survive on a farm on just two legs when it should have four.
ME: Like, double amputee goats?
POE: Yes! You’d be surprised at what’s out there. And they need your help. Can we count on you to address and stamp and mail those 300 letters to spread the word in Madison?
ME: Um, I’ve been kind of busy lately . . . .
POE: It’s thanks to the kind people like you that we’re improving the lives of two-legged farm animals everywhere. Can’t you pleeeeeeease FIND IT IN YOUR HEART to help?
ME: But, you know I’m not a vegetarian, right? I EAT chickens and turkeys. Not so much ducks and geese, and I don’t like eggs, but shouldn’t you be trying to get help from the wacky vegans out there?
POE: Eating animals has nothing to do with it. Being NICE to them while they are alive is the point. So CAN WE COUNT ON YOU . . .
ME: ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT ALREADY! I’m in! Can I get back to “Parks and Recreation” now?
POE: Thank you Miss MayHAR. Can we also count on a small donation from you? Say, $20?
ME: Yes, yes – here comes Tammy to torment Ron, I gotta go.
POE: How about $25, to help yet one more fluffy bird have a happier life before it reaches your table?
ME: Oh, FINE. Goodbye.
And that’s how I end up financially contributing to a seemingly endless parade of charities. I just can’t say no.
So, please – leave a message. Especially if you’re an old friend who wants to catch up and laugh over old times on a river cruise in the south of France.