Call me Crabby

*** Rant Alert ***

I’m a crabby old woman. I admit it. But I don’t think becoming crabby was simply the result of my advancing years, or a “crabby” gene in my lineage, or a long-standing personality trait that has become more pronounced with age.

No, I believe it was the concerted efforts of others that made me this way. Somewhere, somehow, somebody — lots of somebodies — pasted a big “Kick me!” sign on my backside, hung a neon arrow over my head pointing down and saying “Sucker,” and painted a message on my curb saying “Gullible old woman lives here.”

Why else would my telephone, that I pay an exorbitant amount for every month to ensure my personal safety and convenience, become a tool to be used against me in my own home? A tool that hundreds have employed this year to annoy me, interrupt me, and drive up my blood pressure. A tool for others to use to peddle to me things and candidates I’m not interested in, dun me for bills I don’t owe, offer me help I don’t need, or fill up my answering machine and voice mail with same. (Or worse, fill them with empty silence.) But not, of course, without first ringing my phone the requisite number of times. Sure, I could always turn off the ringer, but what then of legitimate calls?

It will get better after the election, I kept telling myself; most of the calls will stop after November 6. Wrong. Yesterday, for example, I got three different calls from the same number — a local number but with no ID showing. And identified online as a known robocaller/scammer. Why should I have to seriously consider giving up my land line because of rude, irritating strangers?

Last night I noticed the “No Soliciting” sign on my front door was looking a little worn, so I took it down. Today, less than 24 hours later, not one but two different church groups rang my bell. The first time it was a husband and wife accompanied by a child who obviously should have been in school; Jehovah’s Witnesses. A scowl and a gruff “No” was all they got for their trouble. (I don’t even try to be polite anymore, but I still feel guilty about being rude.) The second time it was two men inviting me to attend a local church. Sorry, but I’ve no patience for church people trying to spread their message on my front porch. (And I’m always wary of two strange men ringing my bell. Do they have any idea how intimidating they are to a woman living alone? Are they casing homes, looking for one that’s unoccupied during the day?) I’ve considered adding “No Proselytizing” to my “No Soliciting, No Literature, No Flyers” sign, but it’s verging on being a billboard already. Why should I have to spoil the appearance of my home to tell these people to buzz off?

Not only have I become extremely crabby, I’m obviously getting a bit paranoid. Why are all these people bothering me? Are they watching me? “Get her, she’s an independent voter!” “Call her, she has a phone and we know she’s there!” “Ring her doorbell; she’s home all day!”

How do I stop all these intrusions? Don’t answer the phone or the doorbell? I’ll still have to listen to them. Answer them and ask the other party to leave me alone? All that does is confirm that yes, there is a human being here who will respond. Flee the house during the day? It’s my home and my hard-earned retirement, dammit. Leave me alone!

Arghh!!!! Even as I write, my phone is ringing again with an unidentified, out-of-state number!!!

(See what I mean? How did they know I was writing about them? … )

13 comments

  1. I agree with you, PT! We haven’t been bothered more than 2 or 3 times at the front door in years, but we get at least one commercial call a week, it seems. The most persistent offender is “Cardholder Services”, apparently a national scam that has found a way to use robocalls to evade the law. We are on both the state (MO) and federal “no-call” lists, but the hook is that you have to press a number after the recording. (They imply they can consolidate one’s credit-card debt and reduce the payments.) I punched the number once and was connected to a woman. She verified I wasn’t a Martian by getting me to read off the 800 help number off the back of one of my credit cards. Wanted to know roughly my credit card debt size. I lied, said between $6K and $8K. I could almost hear her salivate. When she launched into a spiel, I laid down the phone. When I picked it up 5 minutes later, she was saying, “Are you still there?” I felt a little guilty, but started my own spiel about how I realized jobs were hard to get but that her employer was causing her to break the law. She hung up on me. Sigh.

    1. I’ve no doubt that some of the calls I get are because somewhere, once upon a time, I made an inquiry, a small donation, a purchase of a certain type of product, or set up an online account of some kind — and those people instantly started giving or selling my information to entities like themselves or to anyone else who wanted the info. The result over time has been a flood of unwanted calls, snail mail, and email. And maybe even the people who ring my doorbell. And of course there are the robo-dialers, computers that systematically call every possible combination of numbers that could make up a phone number; those will catch even unlisted numbers and cell phones.

  2. Call you Crabby and call me a biatch, because that’s what I am with these people. Actually, I’m not that bad in the sense that I don’t yell at anyone. I don’t pull them down. And so on. But I rarely ever let them get in a full sentence. Even the good ones who know how to typically control the call. But I know most are just trying to bring home a check. Now church people on the other hand… with them I love to have fun with. Almost always the first thing out of my mouth is that I’m an atheist. Then I ask if they wouldn’t mind hearing about atheism and why they should covert. About now is when they start running.

    1. The best I’ve managed so far with any door-to-door people is an annoyed scowl and a “Not interested” as I close the door. I think once I managed to say “Can’t you read?” and pointed to my sign. Seriously, the sign is about 6 inches from both the doorbell and the door handle, and yet they still ring the bell and stick junk under the door handle.

      1. Selective blindness, I guess. I actually did use that line on a woman at a gas station. I’m pumping gas into a van so obviously would be there longer than a mini car and she approaches with some pamphlet. I could easily see what it was. I let her say her opening lines then I proceed to tell her I’m an atheists and how she needs to change her ways and find freedom from the binds of the bible… and she move as fast as she could without breaking into a full run to get away from me. I laughed until I cried.

        1. I would love to have seen that. And it would do wonders for my blood pressure if I could respond like that instead of fuming for hours because I was half-way polite to them despite my annoyance.

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