Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sorry...Wrong Number

It was late one evening in Beaconsfield, England (the county of Bucks) and we had just retired for the evening.  I had my book in hand and Mac had brought up the Daily Mail.  He always read the paper in bed at night since he had to leave so early to "go up to town" to work.  "Up to town" was London, and it was an hour long train ride every day.  Both ways.  We had only been living in England for three months and I was still suffering from Jet Lag.  (I capitalize it because I am certain it must be the actual name for an actual disease.)  I don't think I overcame the symptoms of said disease for at least a year.  I found myself yawning at odd times during the day and wanting to curl up on the divan like a cat...why you may ask?  Because I simply was not resting well.  On this particular night, the phone was ringing.  Now, imagine watching a lovely British show on PBS and hearing the phone ring that peculiar "bringgggg brinnggg...bringgggg bringgg."  It still caused me to catch my breath every time I heard it in my own home.  There was something so foreign in the burr of the ring that you don't hear in our phones .  Of course now you hear everything from bagpipes to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead"  but that is now and I'm talking about then...1980.  Anyway, the phone was doing that thing that it does when it actually DEMANDS that you answer it.  Now, we only had one phone in the house, it was on the foyer table at the front door.  It had a lovely long cord so that if I wanted to carry on a conversation of any length it would easily travel into the lounge by the fire.  So the phone is ringing and Mac says, "now who  is that at this hour?"  I gave him the sideways look and told him the crystal ball was downstairs with the phone, but I'd certainly consult one or both of them to see who it might be.  I answered the phone in the accepted way by saying the phone number...Beaconsfield 4650.  A voice from the other end asked to speak to John.  I told him that I felt he may have the wrong number and he asks "are you American?"  I assured him that his wrong number was actually ringing in the UK and not the USA and he began to tell me about his dearest Aunt who was now living in Buffalo New York and asking me if I knew what it was like there.  We had a very nice conversation that lasted about forty five minutes.  I went back upstairs and climbed into bed and Mac roused himself enough to ask who had been calling.  He didn't bat an eye when I told him it had been a wrong number. 
Now, why this old story has come up is because something happened the other day that brought it to mind immediately.  Monday we were going into Hartsville and I called my friend Cathie from my cell phone to hers to see if she wanted to ride along.  The phone rang once then went to voice mail.  I left a quick message about why I was calling and thought no more about it.  I tried to call her again on Wednesday to firm up plans to go to the Smokehouse on Wednesday and the same thing, straight to voice mail.  Wednesday afternoon Cathie called me and asked if we were still on for dinner.  I assured her we were and would pick her up at 5:30.  So we're on the road and I told her about the calls going to voicemail and she said she had checked and that it didn't show my calls.  I  took out my phone and flipped it open and dialed her number and the same thing...but the phone in her hand didn't ring.  I hung up then opened it and called out the number that I had entered.  It was off by one number.  We laughed over the mistake and then suddenly my phone rang.  I answered and a lady said "you know you've called me several times this week and I just couldn't figure out who you are."  I explained to her that I had entered the wrong number in my phone and apologized for the bother.  She laughed and said, "well I was just going to say if you still want to go to WalMart's, I wouldn't mind."   Too bad she lives 193 miles away.  But I'll keep her number, her name is Gillian and she sounds a treat.  I make more friends this way...

20 comments:

Jeni said...

Before we came out of the dark ages here and got caller id, we often got calls that were a wrong number. We learned then that another family in the area -who had two children who were also friends of my two younger kids -that they too were getting wrong number calls. People were dialing that number -or so they thought -and asking for my kids or even, on a few rare occasions, for me -just as I was getting calls for a Donna, Nathan and Amiee too. We finally realized it was because our number began with 345 and their number began with 342 -but the rest of the number for them, for us -identical! Enter caller id and now, the number of the caller pops up and whenever we see a certain number on our id, when I answer the phone and it is that caller, I always say "Hi Jean!" This one woman apparently has a fixation for our number or has the number on speed dial and has never corrected it because this mistake has been going on for close to 20 years now!

the fly in the web said...

In France we used to get calls for one of the local doctors...all emergencies out of hours except for one elderly lady whose husband had problems passing water and who would ring every time he had a difficulty giving vivid descriptions.
Our number differed from his private number by one digit.
We changed ours.

Carver said...

I enjoyed your stories. You are such a good story teller.

Donna said...

Hahahaaa....omg...funny!
Love that phone shot though!
I'll try to get this comment posted...I see you have the New Word Verification still on...ugggg...
hughugs

Lee said...

Great story, Sandi! I've spent time on the phone with a stranger too. It can indeed be very nice. Way back when I was wed we had a number that used to belong to a CPA who had changed phone numbers. One night at 3:00AM we got a phone call from Saudi Arabia and the guy who was calling, a client no doubt, was asking, "You did what with my account?" LOL There were lots of calls to that number that were wrong. It finally stopped, thank goodness.

Shrinky said...

Haaaaaaa, I love that you had a 45min conversation with a complete stranger on the phone - especially at that hour in the morning, I think it says a lot for your patience and forgiveness. As for hubby, totally happy with your relpy to explain your long absence - well, it's a man thing, isn't it? Shame I didn't manage to mis-dial your number around that time, we could have met up for lunch together at Harvey Nic's!

The only problem I had (several too many times) with wrong numbers, was when the police would regularly call over after one of my babes had hit triple 9, and cooed down the receiver (blush)..

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Flea Market Makeovers said...

LOL! I love this post....

I actually emailed the wrong "bonnie" once and she was kind enough to email me back to let me know....

Maggie May said...

That turned into good blogging material from a simple mistake and who knows where the friendship will go.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Hilary said...

That's a riot. You must have a very friendly phone personality. :)

Sally said...

LOL~great story as only you can tell. Of course, I have one for you since you mentioned it. :)

Long ago, I kept getting calls from a woman asking for John. I told her numerous times there was no John. Finally, after getting tired of her calling; one night she called and asked for John, I told her "I'm sorry but he's in the shower." She never called again. :)

Always good to see you here, Sandie!

(hugs)

Pondside said...

Thanks for the smile! I loved this story - it reminded me of one from when we lived in Germany. I feel a blog post coming on...

Coffee Bean said...

I love this story! How fun!

Brian Miller said...

ha how cool would it be if she was closer and you would have made a friend...

Shadow said...

now this is a novel way of making friends *grin*, delightful story!

p.s. i'm with you on this new word verification, it's a nightmare, yet i have no idea how to turn it off, do you?

NitWit1 said...

Iloved this. I am not very good at starting conversations, but say one word to me and you are in for several hours.

My husband cringes when I answer the phone; he probably prays it is a telemarker because those calls are answered sharp and rude, and the phone is slammed in a manner it might disintegrate.

Any other call means the line is probably tied up for at least one hour.

Merisi said...

So funny! Now, you'll go and meet Gillian one day, won't you? ;-)

I once received a phone call from a gentleman who asked if Sigrid was still there. I am sorry, I said, no Sigrid here. Come on, he shot back, stop kidding me, I know she's there. Sorry, I said, it's the truth, no Sigrid here. I really need to talk to her, and I know she is with you today, the caller insisted. I found myself being baffled and intrigued at the same time: this gentleman was talking German, and we were in the good old USA! I would not go by "being baffled is itself the thing", I wanted to know who this mysterious caller was. I insisted I knew no Sigrid, and as his pleas became more urgent, I finally dared ask whom he thought he was speaking to. Well, you are B he said, aren't you? No, I am sorry, I am not. But you have her voice and speak just like her, you must be B! I finally asked which number he wanted to reach. Turned out that he was off on the last digit and that I actually had met both the couple and their friend before, and we would see each other occasionally again, always chuckling about that phone call.

bj said...

Great story....:))

One of my favorite OLD movies is
SORRY, WRONG NUMBER (1948), black and white....
Barbara Stanwyck was awesome in it.

Vee said...

Only you, Sandi! I love it. Now when you're next 193 miles over, I'm pretty sure that you'll give Gillian a call.

Riverdale Farm said...

You are priceless, Sandi. My husband was impressed by my chattering to the stranger next to me in the plane for an hour and a half as if we were besties, but you've topped that! Twice!

Jenny Woolf said...

what an unusual take on wrong numbers - a way to make friends...

I never get nice wrong numbers like this- the callers are always most apologetic and ring off fast. Perhaps I don't have a welcoming enough phone manner or something :)