Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I had a long tirade brewing on this subject, and little time to tackle it, but it turns out that there's really no need for me to do so. As usual, Tom Tomorrow has made it all much clearer.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Is there such a thing as a wrong-number magnet? Because I think I might be one.

First, there was the guy who called a few times not long after I moved here, clearly thinking he was calling someone else. I politely explained the error to him, he was apologetic, and he never called again. The problem: Before the error was explained, he'd written my phone number on his wall. The next night, an irate, shrieking woman called -- either she was his jealous SO and didn't like him calling other women, or else she was his mom and had to clean the writing off the wall. That one degenerated into mutual and simultaneous yelling before I hung up on her. Fortunately, she got the message and never called back either.

There have been a few others of little consequence, but the most recent was either about five years old, or drunk. Or maybe both. This would have been mildly amusing had it not been one-thirty in the morning. And, of course, when someone has rousted you out of bed at one-thirty in the morning, and the message on the caller ID reads BLOCKED CALL (something that none of your family members, nor any of your close friends, does with their phones), and you bark an extremely gruff "Hel-LO!" with emphasis on the "Hell!" part, and you really want to give this person a piece of your mind, the first thing he or she will say, in either an infuriatingly angry or even more infuriatingly innocent voice, is:

"Who's this?"

Well, I don't know. I've really thought about this long and hard, and it's one of those tough philosophical questions. I mean, do any of us really know who we are? Do we see ourselves as others see us? Am I defined by my simple being? My work? My relationships to other people? My immortal soul or transcendent spirit?

My usual response is a much shorter "Well, who's THIS?" After all, I'm sure the person on the other end of the connection must be in an equally reflective mood. I'm sure we could have a very profound conversation about all of this.

Of course, there's a much simpler answer. You're a person who thinks it's a great idea to make social calls at one-thirty in the morning; you're obviously not distraught, not reporting a crime or a death, and haven't mistaken my number for the police or the emergency room. I, on the other hand, am a now-very-angry woman who has to get up early in the morning to go on a field trip, and has had all the phones in the apartment go off in a cacophony of rings and jingles and, in the case of the basement unit, "The Flight of the Bumblebee", who would hunt you down and sting your sorry butt if I had my way and could, in fact, talk to bumble bees and make them agree to help me out.

The happy ending is that I did eventually get back to sleep, and did make it to the meeting point for my field trip, and went out with the local mycological society for a foray on the spacious and beautiful property of an extremely gracious, 87-year-old former member. It's been a little too cold for good mushrooming, or so I'm told by people who, unlike me, have actually been mushrooming before. But, this is a caring and sharing group, and thanks to them, I've eaten my first fresh morels. (For everyone wondering if morels have an inflated reputation or are, in fact, all that: They are, most definitely, all that. You bet your ascocarp they are. All those years in Michigan, the morel heaven of the U.S., and I have to move to New York State to get fresh-picked morels. Go figure.)

And, when I got home, there was a queen bumble bee buzzing around my front stoop. Good girl. This is a sign. I know you're a loyal minion, at my beck and call. Note to anyone who mistakenly dials my number in the middle of the night: If you hear buzzing, hang up if you know what's good for you.