And why is it that it always rings for someone else and I end up answering it and either taking messages or calling the person for whom the call is intended.
Yes … we do have an answering machine, but we only use it when we’re out. When we’re in I’m the alternative human answering machine!
That said; the worst calls of all are from a variety of sales people trying to sell you something or other. A new credit card, an insurance policy, new double glazing to keep the house warm, and every other imaginable service or product which I most definitely don’t want, has been offered to me on the phone by people I don’t know, nor wish to know. And they have the impertinence to address me by my first name too, as if we’re long standing pals.
“Hello Victor!” one said, “are you well today?”
“No, not really …” I replied, having guessed it was yet another sales person, “I’ve just swallowed a fly.”
Well, that certainly stopped her in her tracks. She sympathized and then proceeded to expound on the benefits of her Company’s products.
The most bizarre phone call however took place last week and it went something like this.
“Good morning Victor! (First name terms straight away). I am Gilbert D Funct and I represent Pets In Peace, a new service provider just established in your town, and our aim is to share and ease your pain when your beloved pet departs this vale of tears.”
“Hein?” said I.
“PIP … that’s our initials, will be there to provide you with a casket in which to place the remains of your dear departed pet. We have caskets in all sizes for goldfish, budgies, hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs and any other animal or insect which may share your home as a member of your family. All caskets are made to the highest standard of professional workmanship in mahogany, oak, elm, cedar wood and pine. And they are lined in satin or silk in a variety of colors such as white, black, and velvet being the most popular.”
“I see …” I said, and before I could tell him I’m not interested Gilbert D Funct went on.
“Furthermore, Victor, as part of our service we would conduct a solemn ceremony of whatever religious belief you desire, and then we would bury the casket containing the remains of your family pet on your property so you can visit him whenever you wish …”
“I live in an apartment!” I interrupted. “Will you bury the pet under the carpet?”
That certainly stopped him.
“Oh …” he said, “do you not have access to a piece of ground?”
“We have a few herb pots in the kitchen … you know … fresh mint, parsley, thyme, rosemary and such like. But the pots are too small to bury a casket in …”
“Yes quite …” he hesitated. So I took the initiative and went on.
“We had planned to flush the goldfish down the toilet … you know … naval burial and all that. Are your caskets water soluble?”
“Er … no … I don’t believe so …” mumbled Gilbert, obviously unaware of my sarcasm.
“And then there’s the cat …” I continued, having gained the upper-hand in this sales pitch, “he’d be too big to flush down the toilet … I’ve often wondered how we’d dispose of him after he’s used up his nine lives …”
“Are you familiar with cremation?” asked Gilbert gaining an advantage point.
“My wife is expert at that … judging from her many Sunday roasts! Perhaps she could do the same to the cat!”
At this point, as luck would have it, she came in the house from one of her shopping trips.
“This is for you …” I said handing her the phone, “someone researching roast recipes for a cookery book he’s writing …” and I quickly rushed to the pub.