Sunday, March 27, 2011

dial c for chuckles

I was well into one of my hammock dreams -- wooing some beauty with crocodile shoes -- when the telephone rang.

I almost didn't answer it -- because I knew what would happen.

I had to swing out of the hammock, run across the patio and into the house, only to experience what happens with at least 90% of my telephone calls -- silence or a quick click.

In my wilder fantasies, the prior owner of the telephone number was a Mexican superhero who was repeatedly called upon to save the Republic from the forces of corruption.  Murciélago-man.  If so, my callers are obviously disappointed in their ersatz hero with his chirpy: "Steve Cotton. Good day."

I had lunch last week with an older woman from Ontario.  Let's call her Marge -- because it is not her name.  But she will immediately recognize herself in any event.

She has been coming to Melaque for over ten years -- staying between three to six months each visit.  In that time, she has learned very little Spanish.  Her reason is the same as most self-satisfied tourists: "I can get by without it."

I laughingly told her about the ten or so quick-hangup telephone calls I receive each day.  Just as a matter of conversation.  But she took it as a complaint.

"I know what you mean.  I get them, too.  What is wrong with them?"

I was a bit confused by her response.  And offered: "Maybe they don't speak English."

Without missing a beat, she raised her voice in that I'm-British-and-I-am-morally-offended tone: "If they can't speak English, why are they calling me?"

I could hear Noel Coward giggling in the middle distance.  One of his better lines was "If I have the wrong number, why did you answer the telephone?"  A line I always imagined being delivered by Gracie Allen.

But I doubt Gracie could have delivered it with any better timing than Marge -- who was offended that I could not continue eating because I was laughing so hard.

Most of the tourists are leaving Melaque for their trek north.  And it is too bad because some of them are a wealth of material for this blog.

I wish them a happy journey.  But I want them to hurry back.  There is writing to be done.


Felipe Zapata said...

I assume it's a regular phone you're referring to. If you get rid of it, life gets more peaceful. I haven't had one in ages. Since you're in a rental, I imagine getting rid of it is not an option. Unplug it then. Stay in the hammock.

Theresa in Merida said...

Long ago before caller ID, my grandmother would accuse us of not answering the phone because we knew it was her calling. Are you sure Marge is not from another little island? she sounds like my abuela.


Nwexican said...

Hmmmm, well when "Marge" reads this post she gets a clue, heehee, narcissist gets a clue... Anyhooooo, beats the shaggy DA.

LeslieLimon said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! Reminds me of my favorite great-aunt, who often responded with Noel Coward's line, when she dialed a wrong number. :)

Babsofsanmiguel said...

True story - Married friends in the Houston area met because she was a "wrong number". They love to tell the story and have been married close to 40 years!
Their wit and sense of humor caused the first conversation and they are still a delight to be with.........

ANM said...

One has to admit, M's point of view is odd, unless, of course, she was an only child growing up in a Victorian household with very set metaphysical notions about what proper people do and don't do -- one act of which being another's ability to read her mind and to know precisely what irritates her.

I have to admit, though, her perspective is one I can appreciate. This life would be ever so much more pleasant without all those annoying little bumps that pop up out of nowhere.

And, by the way, Steve, too much referencing the ringing of the phone in your essay. My ears are numb.


Steve Cotton said...

Some people still contact me through the land line even though I have a mobile telephone. Come to think of it, no one calls on the mobile. That may be a solution.

Steve Cotton said...

Or, in this case, shaggy defense attorney.

Steve Cotton said...

Hmm. Maybe I should start a few conversations with my misconnections.

Steve Cotton said...

I suspect "Marge" believes I meet with 7 billion people every night to plan how to make her life miserable. If I told her that, I am certain she would respond: "Well, tell them they're doing a darn good job."

ANM said...

I strongly suspect that many of those same people are working diligently to make my life miserable as well.

Why, Steve, why?


Steve Cotton said...

Because we are experts at what we do.

Nwexican said...


Don Cuevas said...

Back in Little Rock, AR, we once received a phone call from someone wanting to speak with "Frank". I told the caller, "There's no Frank here. You have the wrong number. This is xxx-xxxxx." And hung up.

A few moments later, the phone rang. "Hello, Frank?"

I repeated that the caller had the wrong number. In response, he said, "So why did you give me this one?"

Don Cuevas

NWexican said...

Perhaps mr. connections?

Steve Cotton said...

Naw. I think I will stick with the lilting voices. But it is a wide field.

Steve Cotton said...

There are relapses.

Steve Cotton said...

Too good. Vaudeville did not die. It is taking place every day in telephone conversations.