By Mir
November 2, 2007

I have a cell phone, and I love it and I hate it. I love knowing that if I’m out and have some sort of emergency, I can reach someone. I hate that it doesn’t always work, that I often forget to charge it, and that most often when it rings it’s not anyone I wish I speak to.

[Digression: It took the kids’ school several months to figure out that someone had input our area code incorrectly in their computers. During that time, if they needed to reach me—which, thanks to my charming Boy Of Many Difficulties was more often than I’d like to admit—they’d call my cell phone and insist that my home phone was out of order. I would always pick up the home phone receiver, note the perfectly normal dial tone, and ask them to tell me what number they had on file for me. It took FOREVER to determine that the main number was correct but the area code was wrong, although, HELLO, why did it never occur to the dialer than it was ODD that we supposedly lived in a different district?]

So when my cell phone rang yesterday with a number I didn’t recognize, my heart sank a little.

“Hello?” I said. (I like to start conversations this way, as people seem to find it off-putting when I pick up and bellow, “WHAT???”)

“IZ TEE!” came a woman’s thick southern accent on the other end. I ran through my local translation lexicon and couldn’t come up for a match as to what that might have been in English. But my cell phone gets kind of a crappy signal here at the house, so I wondered if maybe I’d lost part of what she’d said.

“Hello?” I repeated. (When in doubt, pretend you heard nothing.)

Now there was a brief pause on the other end. “Is this CHRISTY?” she finally said. In her accent it sounded like “Ee-as thees KUH-RIZ-TAY?”

I exhaled. “No, I think you have the wrong number. There’s no Christy here.”

“Oh.” She sounded completely defeated. “‘msorry.”

“No problem,” I said. Then I hung up.

I went back to my work and about a minute later, my cell phone rang again. From the same number as before.

“Hello?” I said. (In retrospect, I feel like I should’ve opened with something wittier. Like “There’s still no Christy here” or “You’ve dialed the same number again” or “Is your refrigerator running?”)

“Listen,” the same voice huffed, clearly having used the past 60 seconds to screw up her courage, “my fiance’s phone has a bunch of calls and text messages on it from this here number—” (“Mah fee-yon-say’s phone hassa buncha calls and tixt missy-jes onnit frum dis heeyah numbah”)

“Wait—” I tried to interrupt.

“And they are signed Christy and I need to know why YOU ARE CALLING MY FIANCE!” (An’ dey are sign KUH-RIZ-TAY an’ I need t’ no-ah why YOU ARE CALL’N MAYA FEE-YON-SAY!”)

“WHOA!” Probably not the best move I could’ve made, nor the most erudite selection, but it was all I could think of while looking around the room for hidden cameras as further evidence that I was on Punk’d or Candid Camera. “Hang on, wait, STOP. You are mistaken. My name is not Christy. This is my personal cell phone, which I use only for emergencies. I’m MARRIED. I have CHILDREN.” (“I’m old enough to be your MOTHER,” I wanted to add, but that seemed like adding insult to injury while protesting that I’m not having an affair with… well, I don’t even know who we’re talking about. Maybe he’s really hot and I shouldn’t protest so much.) “I don’t know who you are or who your fiance is, but I’m POSITIVE you have the wrong number.”

“Oh.” She said. Again, total defeat.

“I’m sorry,” I said, not really knowing why.

“Okay,” she said.

I hung up.

I spent the next five minutes convinced she was going to call back a third time. She didn’t, though.

I sort of feel like there are a bunch of things I SHOULD’ve said. Like “Honey, why are you engaged to someone whose cell phone log you’re snooping and finding girls you don’t know about in?” Or “And if I WAS Christy, then what? How about talking to your man?”

Or maybe just, “Dude, I don’t even know HOW to send a text message. I am old and lame!”

By the way, if anyone sees Christy? Tell her to step off of other people’s men, that skank.


  1. All Adither

    Or, “Perhaps you should go to broadcast school to learn how to speak Yanklish” (Yankee English).

  2. Steff

    That’s ok, my fathers cell phone still does not have his name on it, when he calls home to speak to my mother it comes across the caller id as Dick Smith (or something). At first she would not answer until she heard my dad start to leave a message. We claim she has a boyfriend calling.

  3. Not The Mama

    Ugh, having been that snooping girlfriend (though I only confronted the cheater, not the suspected accomplish), I feel for her. If, like me, her suspicions are confirmed by the cell phone snooping, she needs to RUN not walk out of that relationship. Trust me, notChristy, the doubt and suspicion will eat you alive.

  4. RuthWells

    Aw, the poor kid. You couldn’t pay me enough money to be young and single again.

  5. Becky

    Well, according to some article whose source I cannot recall at this time of day, one of the signs that your lover may be cheating on you is if they are always on their cellphone sending messages, and not letting you see them. She could’ve read something like that, gotten worried, and decided to check.

  6. Jacqueline

    I got a call like that once. The woman on the other end of the line was convinced that the number was her husband’s cell phone and what was I doing answering it? Hopefully that was just a case of the number being scribbled down wrong and easily fixed…

  7. Ani

    LOL We spent YEARS. YEARS! Convincing people that we were not in any way shape or form related to “Timothy Reese”.

    Our name sounds NOTHING like that, btw.

    Even 7 years AFTER we got that number, we still got calls from Timothy’s GRANDMOTHER. Sheesh.

  8. Em

    Last month my husband somehow accidently forwarded his calls to a perfect stranger. Anytime anyone called him, they got this stranger, then called me to ask what was up (my husband was in a class all day and couldn’t be reached. Especially not with a FUBAR cell phone). So I got it in my head that his phone must have benn STOLEN! So I called that number and did not accuse them of stealing per se but asked the nice man on the other end of the phone to explain to me exactly WHERE HE GOT THE PHONE HE WAS SPEAKING ON!! I had my bitch face on too. He tried telling me that he had the phone for 30 years but I was having none of that business. What do I look like some kind of fool???! Well, yeah. I totally am. I freaking hate cell phones.

    I think you missed the perfect opportunity to have someone beaten up. Surely there must be someone you know who could use a good butt kicking. You could have told that chick to come fight for her man (oh! how about that lady who hit your car. She could use a boot to the arse, doncha think?).

  9. Cheryl

    When we moved into our home 8 years ago, we were given a phone number by local phone company that had previously been assigned to some bad people! We still get phone calls even now asking for bills to be paid, banks are looking for them, and even their kids’ school has our number – have been asked a couple of times to come and get sick kids and take them home!!! You would think the kids would know their current home phone number. Even family members have called long distance to argue that we do too know where Scott and Heather are – and we have never met these people. Kinda funny in a sad sort of way.

  10. Crisanne

    These comments are cracking me up! But I’m with Ruth Wells-sooo thankful NOT to be dealing with dating crap any more.

    When I was in high school we had a second line (for the computer) and we were always getting calls for Patsy-esp from her father. We’d say they had the wrong number and they’d repeat our EXACT number back to us as Patsy’s number (as in “Is this 254-2866?”). One day I decided to test it and call the number myself. The first time it rang at my house, the second at Patsy’s….It totally freaked me out and I hung up on her.

  11. Cera

    Our house phone is constantly being called by people looking for Marcela. Marcela obviously didn’t pay her bills on time. Or talk to her family. In fact, they used our house number to track down our address, and began sending Marcela’s unpaid bills to our house.

    Of course, the first time this happened, I had a giant heart attack.

    Hubby’s ex wife is Mar*i*cela.

  12. Beth

    My parents’ phone number is 1 digit off of the local bowling alley’s number. One of my not-so-secret joys as a kid/teen was taking people’s lane reservations. If you’re dumb enough to not notice that I didn’t answer the phone “___ ___ Lanes” you’re dumb enough for it to be funny ;-)

  13. becky

    ick. i’ve gotten calls from people telling me i called them, when i most certainly haven’t. it’s kinda weird, though. you start to wonder if someone else could have spoofed your number, etc. or maybe that’s just paranoid me.

  14. Megan

    I have gotten five messages on my home phone from two different schools for two different children letting me know that my child *click… whirrr* TAHbehTHAH *click… whirrr* was not in school today. I finally called one of the schools and left a long apologetic message all about how I was sorry I wasn’t Tabitha’s mother, and I had no child attending their school, and somehow someone must have given the wrong number in some way and golly, did I say I was sorry for wasting their prayshus computer time on someone else’s error? Then I hung up and had a long talk with myself about how it wasn’t my fault and I’m sure Tabitha’s mother loves her really and it was all a big mistake. Yeah, well I had a mother who was big on the Guilt Method of Effective Parenting. And it shows.

  15. tammy

    Did I tell you about the time we got a phone call at two in the morning from some guy offering to bring some weed and hot chicks over to our house? He knew our last name, too. We thought maybe the local drug dealers had started a telemarketing campaign.

    Turned out a friend of ours had lost his cellphone in a cab, and the drunk guy who found it crank called his whole address book. Including his future in-laws.

    (They didn’t want any weed or hot chicks, either.)

  16. dink(y)

    Hee! I’m old and lame too!

  17. ChristieNY

    I promise it wasn’t me that was texting that chick’s fiance, I wouldn’t even know how! Add me to the lame club! ;)

  18. jess

    You’re lucky. We keep getting calls from a number one different from our own. I kept telling my husband that I figured he was attempting to call his own voicemail and had put in our number, so I answered it one day after he had called six times in a row (literally–he would call up to a dozen times in a row several times a week). He asked me if this was [the phone number calling ME] and I told him it was not. He said he wanted his own number for voicemail and wanted me to transfer him. I told him his VM was set up wrong and to call customer service, as this was my own personal number (which he should have FIGURED OUT every time he got MY VOICEMAIL with our name on it and left a message of his breathing and muttering). He then proceeded to call back a few more times, which we ignored. Since then, he has continued his calling us time and time again for the past few months since I talked to him.

    *sighs* What is so hard about checking a number for accuracy?

  19. Heidi

    Over the course of many years, we have gotten calls for a number very similar to ours – so often that I’m able to say, oh, you have the wrong number and you need to dial such-and-such. Through the phone lines we’ve witnessed the growing up of the little girls, who are now old enough to have teenaged BOYS calling them. One day I called them to let them know that their Mercedes was ready to be picked up, seeing as how the dealership left the message on our machine. I wonder how often they get my calls for an astrologer. Heh!

  20. Wendy

    By the way, if anyone sees Christy? Tell her to step off of other people’s men, that skank.

    You are my favorite. And if you need water in the coming months, I will extend my hose for you.

  21. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Growing up, our phone number was one digit off from the local Catholic church. You would not believe the number of people that call their church in moments of emergency (think “there’s a fire in the kitchen”–I’m not even kidding) or guilt.

    My favorite was the woman who called to ask for advice because she thought her spouse was cheating. As a teenage idiot, I thought it was my duty to inform her that she should throw the bastard out, find the other woman to kick her ass, and move on.

    I wonder if her name was Christy and if she’s still trying to find the other woman.

  22. Kuh-riz-tay

    Thanks for covering for me. If ya’ll want to find me, I’ll be over here at the bowling alley with Scott and Heather. Marcela’s gonna meet us later.

  23. kidzmama

    I only use my cell for emergencies as well. Really, I only have 75 minutes on it to use. Anyway, if I don’t recognize the number (husband, schools, parents) I let it go to voicemail. My voicemail says “we can’t come to the phone right now, but do not leave a message, we do not check this phone. Please call our home number, thank you”. No one has left a message since.

    I hope she doesn’t call you next month when the bill comes again!

  24. cce

    I have a friend whose college dorm number was issued improperly and conflicted with that of the local pizza joint. After several weeks of trying to solve the problem, he just gave into the charade and began taking orders for large pepperoni pies and inviting friends over for evenings spent playing drinking games surrounding the development of nightly specials imparted with fake accents. Hilarious fun!

  25. mimbles

    I used to get wrong number calls on my mobile from Melbourne area code numbers. They all asked for Tim and occasionally if I was Rachel, eventually I was able to answer these calls by saying “No this is not Tim’s phone and I’m not Rachel” which confused the caller greatly. Because if it wasn’t Tim’s phone and I didn’t know him how on earth did I know about Rachel!! Fun times :)

  26. Vane

    I got a call like that once, although the lady on the phone was the very sad wife of … Fernando? something like that (I don’t even know anyone with that name), she asked me if I knew her husband and why did he had my number on his cell. I tried to explain that I didn’t and had no idea why he had my number. She hung up ever so tearfully. A couple of weeks later I got a call from said Fernando (who was a construction worker of some sort) so I proceeded to explain to him also that I had no idea who he was and ask him to please delete my number from his cell. To this day I still think that was very, very weird, as they both knew my last name.

  27. Dani

    Back in the days of “beepers” I had one for work that I hardly ever used so I didn’t think it was odd that I didn’t get any calls for more than a week. One night my father called me and asked me why some guy kept calling him back every time he tried to page me. Confused, I decided to page myself with my own number. Damn thing didn’t beep but my phone rang two minutes later with some guy saying, “Hi, this is Steve. You paged me?”! After a brief argument about how he got a pager with my phone number (turns out the pager company screwed up big time) you know what that s.o.b. did? He asked me out! He was calling me from a bar and wanted me to meet him there. He said he’d been dying to find out who this “Dani” was that everyone had been paging him for all week. Yeah… like THAT was gonna’ happen….

  28. florentine

    Once I was at work and thought I was having a heart attack and my assistant drove me to the emergency room and I ended up having to spend the night there. That night a friend of mine tried to call my hospital room and by some extremely strange coincidence somehow she instead mysteriously reached my assistant on his home phone—a phone number she didn’t know, that I didn’t even know, a number nothing close to the hospital room phone number.

  29. Ayla-Monic

    While reading this post… I got a phone call that turned out to be a wrong number.


    Or Fate?!

  30. Jamie

    What that Christy probably did was send text messages to him via internet (you can go to their cell phone company website and do it). She probably put in your number and signed it with her name, so she wouldn’t be traced to her own phone.

    We had a very old woman that kept calling my husband’s cell phone and insisting she didn’t have the wrong number. She would call at all hours. Finally dh got tired of it and told her not to call anymore. Haven’t heard from her since. Strange!

  31. Jamie

    Oh and re: “It’s not a regret, it’s an “experience” “. I had a boss once who wouldn’t let you tell her you had a “problem”. We always had to use the phrase “I have an opportunity” not “I have a problem”.

  32. Meramoo

    Our phone number growing up was one digit off from the Farm Bureau. I never did figure out why my suburban town had a farm bureau in the first place.

  33. Rachel May

    Somebody out there thinks our phone is a fax number. We got the cheapest package possible because we just want the phone line for safety reasons when we have a babysitter. (We use our cell phones for everything.) No caller ID, star sixty-whatever to find out who it is. What I don’t understand is who on God’s green earth FAXES people at three a.m. every couple of weeks?!?!?

  34. Tootsie

    I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, only the woman’s husbands name was Robert and there was no southern accent involved. But some kind of mix up with my number, her husbands phone, and something I wanted no part of whatsoever! I feel your pain.

  35. lotus07

    This is a very funny narrative……most excellent.

  36. Brigitte

    And don’t you love when they leave a message, not even listening to the outgoing message that just said (for instance) “This is Jim and Patty Smith, please leave a message”, and they’re like “Hi, Edna, call me back as soon as possible!”

  37. nan

    I had a couple of calls that were confusing: “hello, dis is Ramnarine. Allyuh wanted a sheep.”

    I assured him that I did not want a sheep, and he replied in aggrieved tones that OF COURSE it was not me, it would be my husband. I assured him that my husband did not want a sheep either, and that he was NOT HOME.

    Ramnarine called back so many times that I finally gave him Sean’s cell phone number, and let Sean deal with him. Sean eventually found a friend who was having a “prayers” at home, an aftari or something, and the sheep was duly bought and slaughtered.

    A couple of weeks ago, Ramnarine called again and asked politely if we were interested in ANOTHER sheep. I told him in my best white-lady tones NOT to call back this number! But I know that he has called Sean, who doesn’t mind because you never know when you might need a black-belly sheep! Oh, and he has goats too.

  38. writtenwyrdd

    Y’all are funny people.

    I don’t get many wrong numbers, just calls for the other woman with my name who moved into town a short while ago. Also, when I make calls, even using redial after it has gone through correctly, I get wrong numbers connected. just get mail for the crazy lady who lived there twenty years ago. But, strangely enough, recently some strange woman showed up on the doorstep insisting that I was preventing her from seeing said crazy lady, her bestest pal, and we nerly had to call the police to be rid of her.

  39. Katherine

    We once had our phone number listed in the phone book as the number for a local auto parts store. We would get calls asking for a headlight for a 72 Chevy, etc. If we told them they had the wrong number, all too often they would hang up and dial us right back – because of course they were dialing the number correctly from the phone book. Amazing the people who wouldn’t believe us when we gave them a different “correct” number.

    I was a tween at the time and might have told people a couple of times that of course we had what they needed. And sure we were open til all hours of the night and on Sundays.

  40. Dawn

    Years ago I was given a new number when I moved to another community and immediately began receiving many, many calls for a “Linda,” to the point that I began wondering just what the heck this Linda was up to that she got so many calls. Most people just said, “Sorry!” when told this was no longer Linda’s number, but one woman tried to argue with me saying that, “This is SO Linda’s number!” and then when I assured her that is wasn’t, demanded, “How did you get her number?” as if I’d stolen it from her.

  41. Therese

    I had one woman call me a number of years ago about “leaving her man alone.” After she went on and on for about five minutes (amazing, that she did NOT breathe in all time!), I
    finally told I was VERY pregnant and not really interested in my own man, let alone hers!

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