Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My snarky husband

You know what's fun? Toying with the strangers who call the house.

Years ago, I answered the phone, and this guy had called the wrong number. He was kinda drunk, so it was easy to mess with his head. "You sound funny. Do you have a cold?" he asked me, thinking I was his friend. "No," I replied. "What are you doing tonight?" he asked. "Oh, not much. Watching some TV." We must've chatted for a good five minutes before his Hackles of Suspicion were finally raised and I could stifle my laughter no longer. Yeah, he felt pretty dumb after that. Just doing my part to reduce the scourge of alcohol abuse in this fine land.

Because of Mr. Tangerine's name, we've gotten junk mail, telemarketing calls, and market-research solicitations—in Spanish. Mind you, we don't know much more Spanish than Ben does, and he's in kindergarten. Ocho! Naranja! De nada! Los brazos y la cabeza! (That last one I know from the signs inside the CTA buses.) It's disappointing sometimes. You're bored, you get a call from a survey person, and you think to yourself, "Sure, I've got 10 minutes to kill, and I'm not shy about speaking my mind. I'd love to share my opinions on pickup trucks." But then it turns out that the market research is targeted only at Hispanics, and that's not our demographic.

A few minutes ago, the phone rang, jangling me out of my reveries. Mr. Tangerine and I each had a phone handset within reach, and we each looked at the caller-ID screen. INTERSEARCH CORP? I put my phone down, but Mr. Tangerine was feeling more mischievous. "Buenas noches," he answered. "Hello. Do you speak Spanish?" asked the woman. (WTF? Were you not listening when the man answered the phone, lady?) "No," he replied. "Okay, thank you." Click. She didn't even have the decency to sound amused. But that's okay. We were plenty amused on her behalf.

Anyone else like to play games with strangers who call?


Mignon said...

The other day I got a call from an area code I didn't recognize. I answered and a guy asked for 'Damon.' Which is my brother's not-entirely-common name. I said no-not-here, this is his sister. He said hey how ya doing, as if we hadn't seen each other for a while, and we both ignored the fact that it was highly unlikely that he had called the right number. In fact, we started taking about the NBA playoffs, a not uncommon topic for me and my brothers and their friends. We chatted for a while about LeBron James and such, then after a pause he said, "This isn't Damon Franklin's sister, is it?" I said no. He said, oh well, we said our farewells and I went back to my lemonade.

So, dude somewhere out there looking for Damon Franklin? Sorry about the Cavs - I know you were really into LeBron.

bitchphd said...

God, Mr. B. does this kind of thing constantly, and it drives! me! crazy!

DoctorMama said...

This isn't really a game, but it played a number on one person's head: about a year after my father died, my mother got a phone call from someone asking for Peter. "I'm sorry, he passed away," she said. There was a stunned silence. "Oh my god, I can't believe it," the guy said. "How did it happen?" "A motorcycle crash," she answered. "But when?" he asked. "Last August." There was another stunned silence. "But ... but ... I just saw him yesterday!"

Wrong Peter, of course.

JT said...

That cracks me up. I pulled a stunt on door-to-door Mormon types once. They knocked on the door on a weekday (three days after my wedding), and I answered it, thinking it was UPS. When I saw the guys in their short-sleeved white dress shirts & ties, I panicked. I grabbed a scarf from the door, wrapped it around my head, and said "you must leave! My husband doesn't allow me to speak to strange men!"

I saw them in the neighborhood a lot but they never knocked on my door again.

Anonymous said...

When I filed for bankruptcy (thank you, Grad School, for keeping me in debt for ever-so-long), I just could not handle answering the phone to give the lovely collection agents my attorney's info. My boo, though, handled them perfectly -- assuring them that I was out, and then acting outraged that I had racked up so much debt, and "ohmygod, how is this going to affect MY credit? I'll kill her! I'm trying to buy a boat and, and, and...this is outrageous! What did she buy? Goddamn it, she is going to Get It when she gets home. Am I still going to be able to buy my boat? I mean, I promised my buddies, but you can be damn sure she's not going with us, that free-wheelin' bitch! What's that? Oh. No. We're not married. What do you mean you can't talk to me?"

I went from cowering in a corner to howling with laughter in 0.79 seconds.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Thanks to caller id, we never answer the phone to telemarketers.

In my younger days, I used to make dirty-sex-callers hang up on me. I'd question the size of their penises and their obvious problems talking to actual, live women face-to-face. They'd get so frustrated that they'd kind of spit into the phone and slam down the receiver. God that was fun.

Feral Mom said...

I like to answer every question with a "no."
Telemarketer: Is Mr. Feral home?
Me: No.
Telemarketer: OK. Do you know when I might try again?
Me: No.
Telemarketer: Is this the lady of the house?
Me: No.
Telemarketer: [long pause] Ok, we'll try back again later then.
Me: No.

DoctorMama said...

Feral -- that's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

My sister starts singing nursery rhymes loudly and out of tune, and telemarketers hang up on HER!

Nora said...

When telemarketers call, I put my Classics major to good use by reciting a bit of the Iliad (in the original Greek) in response to each question.

I figure if I ever get anyone on the phone who actually knows Homeric Greek, I have a new friend. And until then, I get to work on my accent.

Orange said...

Mignon, ha!

Dr. B, maybe he drives you nuts, but I'd love to keep Mr. B around the house to handle all nuisance calls.

Doctormama, ouch. Great story, but ouch.

JT, that's brilliant! You worked patriarchal crap to your benefit, and came out of it with a hilarious little story.

Lisa Marie, I don't suppose he even wanted to buy a boat?

Mona, how did you get dirty-sex-callers to call you? I never get anything like that. A friend of mine once had a phone number that previously belonged to an escort service. She'd get calls at midnight from horny men who just didn't want to believe they had a wrong number.

Feral Mom, what the hell are you doing in grad school? I swear you need to land a job as a humorist.

Ellen, I could totally scare the survey people off by singing. But I kinda like Feral Mom's "no" approach.

Nora, you've given me an idea. Next time they call looking for someone who speaks Spanish, I'll reply, "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" or "Parlez vous fran├žais?"

thenutfantastic said...

Hah - we have a message on our answering machine that says, "We do not take telephone solicitations" and that usually takes care of it. Those calling to collect funds though, make sure we know it's legit. I do get NARAL and the DCC calling for money a lot though.

Anastasia said...

Once someone called to see if I was interested in new windows for my home. My home was less than a year no, so no, I wasn't very interested. But instead of telling the lady that, I told I have a rare skin disease that causes me to have to wear a spacesuit when outdoors, so therefore I had my home built with no windows so I wouldn't be exposed to any sunlight. "Um, OK." click.

Anonymous said...

My sister's favorite response is to affect a heavy Southern accent and ask them, "Have yew found JEEEEEEEsus?"

Works every time.