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.