After a long day of work, battling the wretched E-train and trying to make a buck in Manhattan, I finally arrive en casa.
I’m either making dinner or watching a rerun of “Law and Order” when I am interrupted.
The telephone rings. A person, who sounds as though he is working in a confined space with tons of people all reading from a script, a room which is otherwise known as a boiler room, asks, “Can I speak to Suzanne Hall?” (Suzanne Hall is my ever comely wife of more than three decades, a woman who gives a lot to environmental causes).
I have no idea who this is because he hasn’t identified himself. Is he a friend, a business associate, a telemarketer or a foot solider in one of the ever present political machines seeking to get something out of us? He immediately launches into a spiel without stopping for air. He just wants to go on without any questions. Still, after a few minutes, I can’t resist.
Are you a friend of my wife,” I ask. This phone creature starts to squirm. “Well, I’m Bob Bloviate of the ”
And why do you want to talk to her, I ask, still trying to figure out what is going on?
When I finally get Mr. Bloviate to break off from his script, I learn what he is up to and why it dangerous to answer the phone.
“Well, Mr. Hall,” he begins anew (My name is not Hall. But why let the facts get in the way of a pitch?). “We were just calling on a courtesy call.” (I think that I must be confused on what is the meaning of the word courtesy).
“Yes, we just wanted to tell Suzanne, that we appreciate her contributions and…”
I don’t interrupt, but what I want to say is, “So you want her to dig deeper right. Maybe she should be giving you more every month or every week. Maybe she should take a job and dedicate all her pay to your group and then you could have a better class of boiler room.” Well, I don’t say these things but I continue to listen to Mr. BB.
I know my wife wants nothing to do with this. She is in the next room. She is so disgusted with these persistent pesky phone pitches that she won’t answer our land line. I answer because I work from home and a call might be for business. I also plead guilty to a morbid curiosity about these often idiotic and sometimes chincanerous calls. My favorite are from the political flunkies who tell you ten minutes before an election why their candidate should not only get my vote but be nominated for the net opening in the Blessed Trinity.
I ask BB has my wife ever given his organization her phone number. Has she told them that they could call her at all hours of the day or any night; at anytime when we may be doing anything from making dinner to making love?
The garrulous Mr. BB suddenly has no answer. I suppose that is not down on the script. Finally, he is forced to admit that no one in my house had ever said, “Sure, call us at any hour of the day or night. We have nothing better to do with our lives than talk to you and your associates who are trying to separate us from more of our hard earned geld, much is spent on useless welfare programs and even more useless war before some of it is allowed to get to us, the people who earned it.
Finally, I’ve had enough. BB is one of numerous people and robo calls that seeks to steal the most important thing I, or any other person has: his or her time.
“Mr. Bloviate,” I calmly begin, neither my wife nor I have ever asked to be called at home, which is supposed to be a place of rest and enjoyment, not one of persistent pitches. Don’t ever call us again.”
BB assures me that he won’t. But, like the perfervid promises of pols at the hustings, I know the promises mean nothing; about as much as getting on the do not call list.
So, please don’t call me; not anyone. Until the boiler rooms have been cleared, until the do not call lists actually work, I must treat every incoming call as a potential time waster that steals small parts of my life and hands them over to hucksters, political flunkies and other such clowns.