As I sit in bed doing research for my next post, the phone rings. It’s almost 7pm so I think it might be my son’s father. I would jump up and run to the phone, but I know from experience that I won’t have enough time to answer it before the answering machine. Instead, I take my time and then sit next to my wall-mounted, corded land-line in the kitchen.
I wait for a few minutes and my son runs up to me and asks to speak to Daddy. I tell him if Daddy calls, of course he can talk to him. But the phone doesn’t ring again, so we both hang our heads and Holden pulls me by the shirt into the living room.
We cuddle (read: he flails and injures every part of my body) for a few minutes until finally he becomes distracted by his TV show and/or toys and I get back to work.
Then the phone rings again. This time I know from experience that I can answer it before the machine, but I have to run. So Holden and I leap across the house nearly tripping over each other. We get there just in time.
When I answer, no one’s there. This is common when Nate calls, so I wait a few seconds and say “Hello?” again.
Hello, is Septemsssstp there?
It’s Tempest. Seriously, how hard is that? I know it’s an uncommon name, but it’s pretty average spelling. T-E-M. Tem. Kind of like ‘ten,’ but with an ‘m‘. Tem. P-E-S-T. Pest. Like you, person calling me. You are a pest. Pest. Actually, some people even pronounce it ‘pist,’ and I’m okay with that because it sounds an awful lot like ‘pissed,’ which I’m assuming I’ll be pretty soon. So, Tem-pest or Tem-pist, either way is good with me. NOT Septemsssstp, mmkay?
Can you verify that you still receive your mail at 714 Baaad . . . Batt-err-say–
BATTERSEA. Christ. B-A-T. Bat. Like, what I want to hit you with. T-E-R. Ter. Kind of like ‘ten‘ but with an ‘r‘. S-E-A. Sea. Like that big body of water where they’ll probably have to search for your body. But no, I cannot verify any kind of personal information about myself because I have no idea who the hell you are.
I’m Blah-blah from ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ company.
That does not help me at all. What is this in regards to?
A personal matter. I just have to verify that I have the right person.
I’M NOT TELLING YOU SHIT, BITCH. What kind of ‘personal matter‘?
You don’t have to give any information, I have it here in front of me, you just need to verify it.
Oh okay, so if a scam artist is trying to steal my identity and needs to ‘verify’ that he has the right information because if he puts in the wrong information they’ll [whoever they are] be on to him, I should just give it to him? BUT FINE. Yes, 714 Battersea, that’s my address, sure*.
Okay great, my name is Blah-blah. I am calling from ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, we are a debt collector trying to collect a debt. This call may be monitored or recorded. You owe AT&T $352–
Yeah, I can’t do anything about that right now.
We offer a payment plan.
I have no income. I am a single mother trying to go to school. LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.
May I ask how long you’ve been unemployed?
So you are a scam artist! I don’t know, a year-and-a-half, two-and-a-half, I don’t fucking know. I was in school. HOLDEN GET OFF ME NOYOUMAYNOTHAVETHAT.
We can set up [mumble mumble crap] where you can set a payment for a later date.
I. am. unemployed. I. don’t. know. when. I. will. be. employed. again. I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, NOR WILL I KNOW WHEN I WILL BE ABLE TO UNTIL THAT TIME COMES.
Okay, let me put you on with my manager to see if we can do something.
You won’t be able to I hate you.
Hi, my name is HAHA, how are you today?
I’m just peachy, how the fuck are you?
I’m great, thanks for asking! Now, it shows you owe $352 to AT&T. We’re hoping to get this resolved.
Yeah, I already told the other guy I can’t. There is literally nothing I can do right now.
We can offer you a payment plan, and you can make small payments.
Okay, is it the “right now” that’s throwing you guys off? I CANNOT DO ANYTHING. I don’t have an income. I already told your guy this.
We can set up [mumble mumble] where you can set a payment for a later date.
HOLY CRAP WOMAN I CAN’T DO ANYTHING. HOLDENSTOPITNOW. Do you want to come spend a few days with me and see exactly how I’m living? Do you want proof that I am not working and have no idea when I will again? If I had the means to pay, I would. I cannot.
You’ve owed this debt for about 5 years.
Yes, I know. In the beginning all of my money was going into my veins. Let me make that explicitly clear — I was spending all of my money on heroin. I honestly didn’t give a shit about you or your damn money. (I’m starting to feel that way again, so be careful.) But, then I grew up and had a kid and went to school and now I have to buy diapers and food and all the other shit I need to live so SHUT THE FUCK UP.
Then Holden starts to cry, grabs the phone from me and hangs it up. Thank God. But not before I hear the women explain that until I at least make some sort of payment promise, they will continue calling. Which means I will continue to have this conversation over and over and over and over and over. And over.
So this is why I’m not doing Tired Toddler Thursdays today. Oh, and I’ve only taken one or two pictures of Holden sleeping this week because I’ve been falling asleep earlier and/or he’s been falling asleep on me. Literally, on me. And the camera was lost for a good part of the week, and now the cables to get the pictures onto my computer are lost. But I’ll find them, I promise!
How was your day?
**UPDATE: True to their word, the calls have not stopped. Every other day (maybe every day, but I don’t wake up early enough to catch all incoming calls) the phone rings and someone doesn’t respond right away and then says my name wrong and gives me the same spiel as everyone else who’s ever called.
But today, other than the call coming at 8:30am, things were different. The caller said my name perfectly. He got straight to the point without me having to verify anything I didn’t want to. I let him make his speech and promptly told him what I tell them all — I can’t pay. He said Okay. Okay! He did ask if I could make payments, but when I told him no, that was that. No more; the end.
I was so excited I almost told him I loved him.
*(None of this information is useful to you con artists. It’s either old or skewed. Plus, if you really did manage to steal my identity, you’d be pretty damn disappointed.)
Facebook: Nonsense & Shenanigans / Twitter: @nonsenanigans
How do you handle annoying phone calls? Do you even get them, or are you perfect? (Sorry I’m still a little mad, I don’t mean to take it out on you.) Do you answer, or hang up, or amuse them like myself? Have you ever tried the “Let me get your number and call you at an inconvenient time” bit? Did it work? Do you have any other tricks? Do you wish I would stop asking questions? Let me know!