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Monday, June 9, 2008

Hello! Hang Up.

Many thanks to everyone who inquired about the state of my crankiness during the unfortunate demise of my air conditioner. The Man in the White Van informed me that the heat pump was frozen "like a June bug in winter", which made as much sense to me as a color chart for Springs and Summers does to your average jock, but eventually he made everything okay. I am now at peace with the thermostat.

The problem with telephones today is that too many people use them. Oh, they don’t answer them. What wilts my lettuce is that they use them to call me during the congealed salad portion of my evening meal.

Everybody from telemarketers touting time shares to Time-Life Books offering Hillary’s Big Book of Beauty Tips rushes to their phone at 7:00 every evening to call my house while I’m buttering biscuits. That’s why our phone at home is an equal opportunity rejecter. Everyone that calls my house is greeted with its perky message: “Go away! Don’t call here! Have a nice day!”

I enlisted with the National Do Not Call folks long ago, but somehow politicians, creditors, and ex-spouses tend to be the sort of folks who think rules apply to other people, and race to speed dial my number every night during my personal fried chicken time.

I believe these are the same folks spreading the propaganda about family unity coming from eating dinner together. They want us to think that quality time means the whole family is sitting close enough together to share a fork, when all they really want is for us to pile up into one big target so they can hit us with a prime time phone blitz and sell us sympathy tickets to the three goats circus.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Occasionally, a relative will call during Family Time. When I hear a familiar voice leaving a message, I will turn down the sound on Wheel of Fortune, pick up the receiver and bellow, “Go away! There are important creditors trying to get through!” and slam down the receiver in a stern manner. You have to be willing to set boundaries.

I’ve decided that the only way to combat this ringaling rampage is to install one of those fancy no-human-involved answering machines like they have at government offices and welcome centers. If you call my home, please be prepared to respond to the following menu:

Hello, you have reached the Mullis residence. If the dog answers, please press 1. If the cat answers, ask to speak to the dog and then press 1. If any creature with enough legs to qualify for the insect or arachnid families answers, please ask for the cat. Have a work order ready and please be prompt with payment. At least one of the felines on duty has a pricey catnip habit to finance.

Don’t give personal information to the cat; he can’t keep a secret and only wants to talk about himself anyway, but the dog is great at screening calls. He is very protective of his family, or as he refers to us: the people who dish up the dog chow. He growls at salesmen, barks at government employees, and doesn’t let anyone through unless they use the password, “cookie.”

What can I say? Everybody has a price. And you thought pay phones were extinct.

Please leave a cookie at the sound of the beep, but it'll be a while before I call you back. I can't understand what Slobberchops is saying when his mouth is full.


the Bag Lady said...

Great post, Amy!
I still haven't trained my dog to answer the phone, and the cats are masters at ignoring it.....

Mandy said...

I hate those calls! Unfortunately I can't ignore them because my 4 year old daughter has just learnt to answer the phone and runs to it every time it rings.

She always answers it with "Hello Daddy". Of course, sometimes it isn't Daddy!