Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rage, Rage Against the Dying Of the No-Call List

I am not really much of a telephone person.

This is why I let my cell phone frequently go uncharged and why it's not glued to my hand as it is with so many women my age. I hate to talk on the phone; I don't want to be reached when I'm working, driving, dining, getting my Modern Family on, grocery shopping, or exercising; the sound of a ringing phone, even when it's my favorite song and not the ancient sound of a ringer bell, destroys my peace of mind. Thank you very much.

So I've always rejoiced in the no-call list. Sure, charities get through. And because I've foolishly agreed to take phone surveys in the past, those sometimes creep in, too. And then there's that whole loophole of businesses who already count you as customers. But the home phone rings a whole lot less than it used to, and my blood pressure is probably lower because of it.

Though last night, after two back-to-back telemarketing calls that absolutely, positively should not have gotten through, but which I had to take because they were local numbers and you just never know, I really thought I was going to bust a blood vessel and stroke out right there at the dining room table.

I was not nice to these people. I was cooking and eating, which, sadly, counts as my afternoon downtime; they were violating what I understand to be the restrictions of the no-call list. I did not set a good example of manners for my kid. And I don't really give a rat's behind.

I know people have to make a living, and cold calling is one way to do so. I keep this mind, that it's not really the fault of the person on the other end of the phone, and try as much as I can to be nice to them. Except for the charity group Kentucky Professional Firefighters, who are really just a bunch of bullies who neither extend nor accept common courtesy.

But I'm done. Done, I tell you. The next time someone calls me to ask me to renew my subscription to Highlights for Children, or sell me on a fabulous new insurance plan for my credit card, or ask me to rank my satisfaction with my cable provider on a scale of 1 to 10 in 20 different service categories, I am going to have a little fun with them.

I'm not going to just let the phone ring and screen my calls. No, sir. So get ready, telemarketers.

If you call me while I am eating dinner, I will eat. Loudly. As Jason can tell you, I am an epic chewer. I have TMJ dysfunction and I'm not afraid to use it. I will grab the loudest food I can find, some Munchos, baby carrots, or possibly Hawaiian kettle chips, and I will chew and crackle and pop loudly in your ear. You will think you have reached a person Jazzercizing atop the world's biggest wad of crispy cellophane.

"I'm sorry Ma'am, is this a bad time?"

"Not at all!" I will say, whilst chewing with my mouth open and demonstrating the terror 2 decades of nocturnal tooth-grinding can wreak on an aging jaw. "I was just eating dinner! Keep going with your special offer!"

Or maybe you will call me after I have worked out and drunk a gallon or so of Smart Water. When it's time to take the longest, most satisfying pee of my life, I will be sure to take the phone into the bathroom with me, where I will make sure it's quite obvious what I'm up to. At the end I will be sure to flush; don't worry. And if the moment is right, I will say, "Can you excuse me for just a moment while I number 2?" Will you still be interested in my radio listening habits?

Usually when I pick up the phone when you call, I apologize to you.

"I'm sorry, I'm really not interested."

"I'm sorry, but I was just on my way out the door."

"Sorry, but my husband and I are just fresh out of charity at the moment."

But you know what? I'm kind of tired of being sorry when you're the one who's calling me. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be apologizing for not wanting to spend $40 a month adding bush and shrub fertilizing treatments to my existing lawncare contract, when all I really want is for you to come every so often and spray for dandelions and clover. I'm tired of apologizing to you when I don't have any bags of unwanted clothes or toys prepared to set out for Amvets by Friday morning because I just rustled up about 8 bags last week. I'm tired of apologizing to you when you call me using a local number that tricks me into picking up, trying to get me to subscribe, add, or donate. When I want to do any of these things, and sometimes I will decide to give money or goods or a service contract to you all of my own accord, I will call you. And if you call me during what's normally accepted to be an American human's dinner hour, or after primetime TV starts, or on weekend mornings when I haven't finished my second cup yet, any words of apology coming out of anyone's mouth should be yours. Because you have interrupted me and intruded yourself vocally into my home.

In the meantime, consider yourself warned. I will not go easy into that "Hello."

1 comment:

DRoss said...

Wow, Cranky - this deserves some thunderous virtual applause from the Louisville metro area. I could not agree with you more. We've discussed our shared tendency to carry around a mobile phone with a dead battery. I've told people who ask for my cell phone number, "Technically I have one, but the odds that I will pick it up if someone calls are practically nil."
Recently I horrified BR and the girls by having a near-nervous-breakdown on some unlucky chap whose auto-dial I actually picked up on a bad day. I truly was screaming at the top of my lungs to this guy and was in full-body shakes before he got to the end of his script. It was ugly.
I am hopelessly behind the times.