I know this has happened to everyone out there. You know what I’m talking about. The irritating “miss” that happens when someone calls another person and for some reason no talking happens.

Normally when this happens, you’re doing something that prevents you – just barely – from answering the telephone. Maybe you’re mixing bread dough, or just came in the door with half the bags of grocieries out of your trunk, or you were backing out a crap of epic proportions. Whatever. Of course, the inevitable happens in spite of the effort you make to grab the receiver: dial tone. Ed McMahon gave up trying to let you know that Publisher’s Clearing House picked you. Or NASA calling to let you know they heard of your awesomeness and want you now, fuck the application. Or the President needed your advice on something important about a dress and a stain.

I – like each of you – has missed each of these crucial opportunities. Though the world will never be the same, and we can lament the outtabeens, I’ve come to accept my missed-opportunity-imposed mediocrity. That’s the breaks, after all, and you did try hell bent for leather to get to the phone (trailing half the roll of ass wipe behind your half-buttoned shorts).

You may find it interesting to know (or not… bye) that what bothers me the most is picking up after one or two normal rings, and then: nothing. No dial tone. No sound. No apology. No click. Not even heavy breathing. I wonder who the poor fuck on the other end of the line is. Did I answer in such a menacing way that you’re speechless? Calling for my daughter and don’t particularly want to be interrogated by The Master? Phobia of wrong numbers? I am sometimes tempted to say, “Stephen Hawking… is that you?” But then I remember he’s famous and has folks to handle that shit for him.

I wonder also if the phone system in my office is partially to blame. I’m forced to sit right next to the damn thing, and spend more time on it than is probably healthy. I’d estimate that I get one of these Twilight Zone dial-ins at least twice a week when I’m in the office. Sometimes I can dial the same number the same way on two days and get different results, so that I suppose is an indicator. But the fact that the phenomenon follows me home gets the paranoid voice in my head screaming about black helicopters and shit.


44 Responses to “Hello?”

  1. Our home phone is such that no one who knows us calls us on it. So when it rings (twice, the lowest possible setting before off), the answering machine gets it every time. Important stuff gets texted. I guess the phone has no sense of urgency for me anymore.


  2. I think it’s some random-number-selecting computerized set-up with a canned sales pitch or political party come-on or some other crank phone call you wouldn’t want to listen to anyway. Those calls drive me nuts, so I’ve started screening my calls with the answering machine or caller ID. 100% of them are crap.

  3. The long pause on my phone usually indicates that AT&T is calling to harass me about purchasing additional services. I wish they would take “I hate you, now leave me alone” for an answer.

  4. I always imagine it’s a stalker, and he’s just watching through the window with his hand in his pants as I cross the room to get the phone…

  5. Have you considered that the phone never really rang and you’re back knee-deep in a delusional state?

  6. Becoming Bitter Says:

    “Just email or text me”
    That’s what I tell everybody.

  7. I asked the black helicopter dudes to hide cameras in your house and tap your phones. Now we sit across the street in that white bakery truck with the blacked out windows you’ll see if you look out your front door, drinking Coors Lite and laughing our asses off at you as you race for the phone, sans pantaloons.

    *insert wicked laugh here*

  8. savorthefolly Says:

    okay…this is going to sound horrible….but I generally avoid answering the phone when it comes to work because it might be a client trying to reach me with some crisis and i really don’t feel like dealing with it right. at. that. moment.

    probably for the best because it wouldn’t be therapeutic for me to answer the phone with a “what the fuck do you want NOW” tone in my voice. I wait until I’ve found my patience and then listen to the message and call them back.

  9. No, this just really means you’re going crazy. Nothing to worry about.

  10. Phones aren’t always easy. Being just too late to answer, no one to answer you, or when you answer the phone, saying “Hello, Random Female talking” and the other person goes “eerrmm… aaagggmm… are you eeerrm… miss eeerrrm… *insert last name* I’mfromthiscompanyandwewanttokno-”
    “I will give the phone to my dad. Because I don’t want to hear.”

  11. It’s a bill collector and the operator hasn’t picked up yet.

    Or so I’ve heard.

    But I don’t know that personally.

  12. My days of racing to pick up the phone are OVER.

    I screen ALL calls. If the caller doesn’t identify him or herself with words . . . I do NOT pick up the receiver.

    Aah . . . that’s better!

  13. I answer it like at a business. Hello. Mr. “Smith” please. Who may I say is calling? It’s Duckies Duct Cleaning. I’m sorry, there’s no-one by that name here, and hang up, Just had a phisher before I sat down. Paki voice says, I am calling from tech support. We need to do an update on your XP program. Please turn on your computer. (It’s been running since 1100 hours) The wife played with him. Which one? Pardon? Which computer? You have more than one? Sure, which one? One moment please. She put him out of our misery, and hung up on him

    Look back! Look waaay back! The local paper ran a big headline in the entertainment section (where else?) today. Look at SuBo go! “What, pray tell, is a Subo?”, thought I. “Is it like a Sumo?, or a Cujo?” They then had to take half the article explaining that this was about the fat-lady, Scottish, So-You-Think-You’ve-Got-Talent, voice of an angel, Susan Boyle. Really? Susan Boyle = SuBo? They reached so far for that one, even I pulled a reality muscle.

    • I think you’re the first person to comment on two of my posts in one comment. I’d give you an award but all I have is a quarter and lint in my ACU pocket.

  14. John Erickson Says:

    I have had people tell me that the phone company won’t bill you for the call if you don’t speak. As a former Ameritech employee running their billing software, and the son of a 39-year Illinois Bell vet, I can safely say “Bullsnock!”.
    My phone goes to answering machine after two rings. People who need me know to ask “Are you there” over the machine, at which point I’ll pick up if I recognise them. If it’s BS, I can delete the message. If unknown, the wife gets the privilege of final vote.
    Works for everything except the dang fax machine that keeps calling. I’m gonna get a cheap fax, download whatever’s sent, then make copies and send them to EVERY one of the company’s competitors. Think that would get the point across? πŸ˜€

    • You might get some cool info that way.

    • Gods … I had one of those a while back John. I let the computer fax answer and download the damn thing then called and threatened them with the maximum legal action. I don’t remember the specifics, but they are liable for something like $500 per offense that you can prove. I told them I’d been logging all their fax attempts and if they didn’t quit I’d go to the state AG and bleed them dry. Of course, they claimed to not know what number I was talking about (claimed it was a typo or something) and that I needed to give them my number. Yeah, right … sorry, smells of fax-spam. At least the calls did stop. Idiots.

  15. Gotta be part of “Murphy’s Law”, only thing it can be, methinks!

  16. backing out a crap of epic proportions.

    True poetry.

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