How many of you are as old as the hills like me? Do you remember that “RPM” is seen in a car and on an old music playing device? Do you remember using a pen or pencil to fix a cassette tape? Have you ever ridden in a car with an 8-track player? Do you remember not having to wear seatbelts? Riding on the wheel well of pick up trucks while gramps did 50 down a dirt road? Do you remember people smoking in a hospital waiting room or restaurants? Do you remember console T.V.’s? Did your grandmother just place the new T.V. on top of the burnt out console T.V. when she bought a new one because now the console was “furniture”? My grandmother took it a step further and hollowed out the console so it was a bookcase-slash-T.V.-stand. We weren’t real trashy, I swear.
Well, have I got news for you:
I turned 39 on the 29th of July. Yeah. That birthday. The one that announces, “Well, here’s your last year before you start shopping for burial plots and telling kids to get off your damn lawn.”
Side note: I’d already be yelling at neighborhood kids to get off my damn lawn if they all weren’t already aware to not fuck with me. Word gets around. I mean, even cows don’t wander up into my yard. I think the Methodist church across the street passes out flyers at Halloween.
Anyhoozles, I’m of the age where I like simple things in life. First and foremost, I like to be left the fuck alone. I’m Allen T. St. Clair, I write, I blog, I get blocked on Twitter*, and I just want to lead my life. It’s that simple.
You know who doesn’t want to let things be simple? Telemarketers.
Back in the day, like the 90’s and early aughts, there was a magical device called “Caller I.D.” It was this thing that plugged into your landline (that’s a whole other discussion for you young’ins) and told you who was calling. It wasn’t integrated into your handheld device. You could easily determine if a call wasn’t worth picking up because you could see that “Linda” from Give Us Your Money To Save the Siberian Whistling Hoot Monkeys Foundation was calling.
Side note: anytime there is a strange call on one of the cell phones that we don’t pick up, JoJo and I just look at each other in disgust and hiss “LINDA!” Then we wait for the caller to give up and not leave a message.
But telemarketers are getting more and more clever. For example, they are now buying up cell phone numbers that look totally normal. When “Linda” calls, sometimes it comes from a weird number. But the majority of the time, the call comes in with a number that looks like a cell phone number from the town next door to mine. When I see a call coming in with a cell phone number from that town, I begin my own little battle of good and evil in my own head. It could be a friend or acquaintance calling–or it could be….Linda. Pick up or no?
Usually, I just don’t pick up. My thought process is that, if it’s a friend, they’ll leave a voicemail or shoot off a text–ya’ know, like a civilized person with manners. I mean…who makes a phone call without scheduling an appointment via text or email two weeks in advance anyway? It’s called “manners” and isn’t at all crazy. We certainly didn’t just call people out of the blue or show up at their houses unannounced back in the day, amirite?
Anyhoozles, a week and a half ago, JoJo (the missus) and I were on our way to Dallas to do a drive-by my sister’s apartment. We were dropping off my fur nephew, Cash, that we had been doggysitting for a couple of weeks. To answer your obvious questions, the drop off went well and my sister rewarded our hard work with a bag of our favorite coffee and a four-pack of cupcakes from Smallcakes. To further answer your questions, it was a bag of Dark Matter from 24 Atoms Coffee and the cupcakes in the box were the Chocolate Creme, Birthday Cupcake, Caramel Crunch, and Hot Fudge Sundae. Worth it!
So, that went well. But, here’s The Thing™ that you’ve all come to expect:
On the way back, JoJo had handed me the aux jack and told me to play us some music. We heard and sang along (poorly) to several songs. But, just out of Sherman, we were starting to rock out to Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. It’s a classic, it’s fun to sing along to, and it’s fun to act out the “bah bah bah” moments in the song. If you’ve never listened to Sweet Caroline on a road trip of any length, what the fuck is wrong with you?
Two seconds into the song, I get a call on my phone. It put the song on pause since I was playing it off of my phone, which severely pissed me off. However, it was a Sherman cell phone number, so I answered it.
Caller: *shocked noises* Oh! Hello! Hi! This is Tom from [redacted] calling to offer you…
Me: *hanging up phone and restarting song*
I ain’t got time for all that. Okay? Neil Diamond is calling my name and I got jazz hands primed and at the ready. Okay, Tom? Two more miles down the road and we’re happily listening to Sweet Caroline and get interrupted by two more calls from strange numbers that I just send directly to voicemail.
Finally, as the song is getting to one of the best parts–you know during a “Hands. Touching hands. Reaching out. Touching me. Touching you.” part?–the phone goes off AGAIN, pausing the song. I mean, how are JoJo and I supposed to act this song out effectively if the phone keeps going off???
It’s a Sherman cell phone number, so I answer.
Caller: Hi! This is Tom from…
Me: Goddamnit, Tom! I’m trying to sing and dance to Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond and I’m having trouble doing the “Bah Bah Bah” part with you calling every two goddamn seconds! Are you going to call if I play Carry On My Wayward Son, too?!? Where are you, Tom? You tell me right now! We’re. coming. to. see. you.
So, obviously “Tom” disconnected. He didn’t call back. I’m probably on another watch list somewhere…but all in all, we had to listen to Sweet Caroline about twenty-seven times, so…it was kind of worth it.
Now that you have an earwig, go buy this shirt**:
*My first (and only…so far) block on the Tweeter occurred because I commented on a fire tornado video with “That looks like something straight outta Satan’s Kink Room. Holy Shit.” I mean, that’s not even the worst thing I’d said that day within a five minute period.
**I didn’t design the shirt. I don’t sell the shirt. I don’t get profits from the sales of the shirt. But I still love the shirt.
Until next time…