*** 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? … )