The Roomie Series Part VIII

I’ve been meaning to tell you about the phone calls—the ones that come in a series of about 25, all within an fifteen-minute span.

It would seem that Manigeh’s family does not understand the concept of an answering machine (or call display for that matter). Here’s how I know. Everyday I come home and there are literally dozens of messages saying the exact same thing (in a loud, confused voice). It goes something like this:

“ALLO?! ALLO?! Maman?! ALLO?!…pause for 5 seconds… ALLO? ALLO?”

Repeat the shouting for about a minute and wait for a hang-up. Then, multiply this message by 20, and you’ve got one profound headache.

Besides the obvious irritation from having someone repeatedly yell in my ear, I am aggravated by two things in this situation. Number one, I am the only one who knows the password to check the messages. Therefore I am forced to listen and delete them, lest they leave no room for other people to call. I could try to teach her to do it, but I don’t have the mental energy to figure out a way to explain (plus, I’m leaving in a week). Number two, I don’t understand how these people have not clued in that my answering machine greeting is not someone answering the phone.

They’ve now heard the same “Hi you’ve reached 416-556-5621…” rigmarole about 500 times. And STILL they persist with “ALLO? ALLO? MAMAN?” I wish I could record them for you so you could hear what it sounds like. I cannot tell you how I dread seeing the red light on the phone, telling me that I have 57 missed calls.

Anyway, I’ve started to do something about it. Never mind whether it’s ethical or not. Every time Manigeh is gone and her family calls, I pick it up and hang it up immediately. They call again, I hang up again. This happens for about 10 or so rounds and eventually they stop calling. It’s perfect. I don’t hear the phone ring constantly, there are no messages to check and Manigeh doesn’t know about it—at least I don’t think she does. Win win win!

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