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He can't help with your cat
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I have lived in Richmond Hill for nearly 23 years, so I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times or a sign of the place, but we sure get a lot of wrong number phone calls at our house.
Some time back, I picked up the phone and got the signal that there was a message. So I punched in the 11-digit pickup code and heard this:
“Hello, this is —— ——. I home-school my two kids and I was wondering how I could get a tour of the fire department for them. Could someone call me back?”
This is a much-abbreviated version of the message she left, but clearly she had the wrong number.
I looked up the Richmond Hill Fire Department number, and sure enough, the business office number is only one digit different from mine.
I called her back and explained that she had the wrong number. She told me she had called the Richmond Hill Police Department to get the fire department number, and they had given her the number that turned out to be mine.
Then I called the police department and told the dispatcher what had happened. She assured me that it wouldn’t happen again.
But it did.
Months later, I answered the phone, as I usually do during business hours, by saying my name.
“This is —— —— with the Thunderbolt Fire Department. We’d like some information on the fire rescue course you’re giving next week.”
I called the Thunderbolt Fire Department back and explained that they had not reached the fire department, but just little old me.
The man I spoke to told me he had first called the police department and had been given my number — again.
And there are the nearly daily calls from people asking for Larry, Joe, Mike, Theresa, Stephanie or Bud. I don’t know if Larry, Joe and associates are named Gardner and someone was just guessing after looking at the phone book, or whether there was no phone book involved to begin with.
Of course, those are the folks whose parents bred a little courtesy into them. Many times I answer the phone by saying my name or simply “hello” if it’s after 5 p.m., only to hear the click of the telephone being hung up.
It doesn’t stop there.
We have two phone lines at our house. Besides the usual residential voice line, we have a dedicated fax/internet line.
On three separate occasions, my fax machine has begun buzzing with faxes concerning real state transactions — page after page of single-spaced legal obfuscatory minutiae.
The last time this happened, in late January, it was 13 pages.
Funny thing is, it was being sent to an attorney in town whose last name is the same as mine.
And whose fax number is one digit different from mine. To the best of my knowledge, we are not related.
While I’m about it, haven’t people learned that fax cover pages are not only unnecessary, they are downright rude? People who use cover pages are taking unwelcome liberties with my paper and my printer ribbon.
I don’t mind the paper so much, but those ribbons are expensive.
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