Phony

Unlike many people I know, I still have a landline phone in my house. I keep it because it is bundled with my cable and internet, but also because it is the receptacle of all sorts of junk phone calls. It is, in essence, the garbage can for phone calls. The only calls I generally answer on that phone are from my mother.

The upcoming election has brought an onslaught of political phone calls. These calls are so frequent that I have stopped bothering to even look at the caller ID.

One day, as the phone rang, W approached, read the caller ID, and stood pondering the phone, still ringing insistently. Finally, he picked it up and said hello.

There was a long pause on this end as he listened to what the caller had to say. “I…” he stopped, unsure of how to handle this situation. “I don’t know,” he responded, the phone falling away from his ear as he attempted to pass it off to me.

I shrugged in response and shook my head, as if to say, Don’t look at me. I didn’t answer it. But he thrust the receiver into my hand, and I had no choice but to take it. Well, I could have hung up…. But I didn’t.

“Hello?” I said, hopeful for something other than a politician or solicitation. The caller began his pitch, asking for money that I do not have. I sighed and hung up, shaking my head at W. “Next time, don’t answer it,” I told him firmly.

As the elections approach, the calls become more frequent, more insistent. One day last week, C was on the couch working on the computer. The phone rang through its cycle of 5-plus rings for the umpteenth time that hour. “Can you unplug the phone please?” he requested.

“No. What happens if someone needs to reach us?” I don’t know what I was thinking when I said that.

“Mom, you are not even answering it. Just unplug it!” He had a point. But then again, maybe the ringing would stop at a reasonable hour, so we could all get some sleep. Not long after this conversation, I left the house for a dance class.

The next morning, I had to call in a prescription refill. It was early in the morning, and the pharmacy has an automated refill line that allows you to call in the refill after hours (or before, in this case). I picked up the phone to dial the number, but there was no dial tone. “Hello?” I said into the silent receiver. Nothing.

I hung up the phone, waited a couple of seconds, and picked it up again. Still nothing. Ugh! I dreaded the call to the cable company—it would take half an hour just to get out of the hold queue. I checked the connections to my handset, but then my eyes fell on the two plugs dangling amongst the other cords.

Ah ha! In my absence, someone had taken care of the persistent politicians. Well, maybe not the politicians per se, but they had severed the communication device from the outside world. Good choice!

I am glad that my children are protecting the privacy and solitude of their home environment. Endless political phone calls every night through the dinner hour will not help them to choose the most effective candidate. In fact, the more calls we receive, the more fed up I become with our current political process. So, bravo to the person who unplugged the phone—I should have done it long ago!

Now, I can’t wait for the politicians to pack up and bring their baggage to another state.

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