posted by Joe Anaya on October 13th, 2014

I refuse to answer the phone these days. No, it’s not another of my Big Brother phobias. It’s election season and we are being inundated with robo-calls. More annoying than the carpet cleaning specials or the solar panel sales call. Does a recording of a candidate interrupting dinner really make someone want to vote for them? I’d refuse to vote for a person just on principal. That’s if I bothered to listen to the message long enough to find out who’s robot was calling.

Even with Caller ID, it’s tough to know it’s a robo-call. The obvious listing of UNKNOWN NAME, UNKNOWN NUMBER is a dead giveaway that I shouldn’t bother getting off the couch to answer the phone. But now they’ve gotten tricky and some how use local numbers. Typically, if I don’t know your number, you have to leave a message because I’m not taking a chance.

Once in a while, I’ll be expecting a call from a pool guy or the library or someone who lives in the area. So, when the phone rings and I don’t recognize the number, I have a moment of dread. The incessant robo-calls have turned the ringing phone into a Pavlovian response of hatred and frustration. But I’m expecting a call, I have to pick it up.

“Hello,” I let out with as much suspicion as is possible with a salutation.

Then it hits me, the tell-tale dead air. That silence on the line that means the robot is transferring you to a sales person or a campaign volunteer. And that’s my cue to hang up, NOW. Occasionally, I’ll be a little slow on the hang up and hear a voice butcher my last name. “Good evening Mr. An- anee- eeneeyay,” confirming their nefarious intention to waste my time.

One big problem, other than I now hate the incredible invention of the phone, is that Matt W. is a slow talker and I don’t really know his phone number. On my cell phone, he’s just Matt W. I don’t know the number or even the area code. (It’s odd that we used to have numbers memorized and now I plug a number in once along with a name and I never dial that number a second time.)

Anyway, a strange number comes across my screen, I hesitantly pick up the phone, “Hello.”

Long pause. Then as I’m about to hang up, I finally hear Matt W’s slow reply, “Hello, Joe.”

And now I’m happy. Not as happy as if election season was over, but happy none the less.

File Under Mr. Cool