MY PHONE ETIQUETTE

Despite the fact that my phone number is on the “do not call” list, it rings all day long with offers for this and that. What good is the list, I’ve wondered. In hopes that the message will get through to all those businesses, folks, scams, etc., who think I might just want what they are selling, I have come up with some snappy responses.

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Just today a man claiming he was with “Senior Health Services” began by saying, “I understand you’re a senior citizen and I’ll bet you’re suffering from arthritic knees and lower back pain.  Am I right?”  Before he could launch into his spiel I said “No.  You are wrong.  I’m in very good health and I don’t need to talk with you.  Thank you for calling.”

Now, when any of the Police Benefit organizations call selling circus tickets or whatever, I’m not quite so short.  “I’m sorry but all my discretionary funds go to the Holland House.  But thank you for calling.”  Actually there is an historic house in my community where I spend all my time and much of my extra money, though it isn’t called “the Holland House.”  Nevertheless, anyone who wants money will usually be put off by this.  Sometimes, when the caller comes back with a request for less money (“Well, how about $10 a month then,”), I continue to tell them about my discretionary funds and where they go.

Occasionally a college student from my alma mater calls asking for a donation to the college. I generally respond with, “I’m sorry, I’m currently helping my grandchildren through school, although to my regret, it isn’t my alma mater.  But thank you for calling.”  Here I must say in my defense that I have in fact financially aided two of my grandchildren in their educational pursuits, but they have finished with their formal education and are now off making money in their chosen fields.

About once a month I win a cruise to somewhere, which I often just hang up on, although once in awhile I’ll say, “I couldn’t possibly work that into my busy schedule, but thank you for calling.”

I set up a small business a few years back to publish my books and every now and then I will get a salesman making a cold call.  First I tend to react with a chuckle since my “business” is pretty small.  (The demand for my books is not overwhelming.)  Just before Christmas a salesman called who was providing a mailing service and I responded with “All my orders are filled now, but thank you for calling.”

Then there’s the caller who begins, “Hi, I’m Matt.  How are you today?”  Usually I’ll say, “What are you selling, Matt?”  I hear a click and then I mutter to myself, “so, thanks for calling, Matt.”

Last week someone claiming he was from the treasury department called and said there was a legal issue and I would need to sign some papers.  The Treasury Department doesn’t make its first notification on the phone.  “My affairs are all in order,” I said. “You are a scam. Do not call back or I will notify the police.”  Here’s one case where I didn’t thank them for calling.

Since I’m a senior citizen a number of calls come with scams of one sort or another.  The caller must figure I’m old and feeble and easily frightened into following through.  These are the only calls where I don’t say thank you.  After all, one must maintain a certain civility when saying no.

 

 

IN THE ZONES

Hello again.  Sorry to be quiet for so long, but I’ve been in one zone or another for months.  Zones… that came from a Daily Post awhile back.  Every suggestion in those posts is interesting and under consideration here at my new computer (Louise).  Some are filed away for future use.

“Zone” was a good one to keep.  I seem to tackle things with intensity… or tunnel vision, one might call it.  Whatever it is, it has my full concentration.

So now is a respite and while I have a chance I will express a concern I have.  (Did you notice?  The word “I” appeared three times in that one sentence.)  That’s a problem I’m having with blogs.  I would so much prefer to be using the literary or 4th Estate “we.”  Another way around it would be to put everything in passive voice and boy! We don’t like that at all!

Let’s see.  Where were we?  Oh, yes.  Zones.  There was that January All-Blogs Zone. One of the perks to writing blogs is that we began reading several other blogs that interested us.  Now, they follow us, we follow them.  How nice.

Then came the February Depths-of-Despair Zone.  This was when good ol’ Fanny (our old computer) became deathly ill, which resulted in purchasing a new one (Louise, as mentioned earlier) and bringing her up to speed.

In March we began to prepare for the annual Summer Exhibit Zone at the local historical society.  Research, writing, downloading free-to-use photos, publicity, etc., etc.  It is titled War’s End, thus the photo with this blog.

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By Memorial Day we were all written out.  But no!  There’s that Facebook thing we tend for the Historical Society.  And there was a presentation on our book Passage to Liverpool. (Yes, it’s self-published.)

Next up?  A two-week trip put us in a Travel Zone, which required reading brochures about our (Rock is going too) destination, making reservations, etc., etc.  Imagine the time this took!  Travel agents used to do this. Are there still travel agents or is that person like the buggy whip maker – obsolete?

In August we’ll be giving a lecture on a subject dear to our (well, my, really) heart.  It’s about a circus showman of the mid 1800s who was incredibly talented.  He had a flawed character, of course, which makes him very interesting.  We have been writing short pieces about him for nearly 20 years and are about three-quarters of the way through a full-length bio.  Just one aspect of his life is the topic of this Upcoming Lecture Zone.

After that, well, the Holidays Zone – Labor Day, Grandparents Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day (formerly called Armistice Day), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.  They all require a certain amount of thought.  Fortunately, they don’t all require gifts.  Tut, tut.  Our miserly side is showing.

What all this whining reveals is that we only seem able to do one thing, or be in one zone at a time.  And even then, we’re barely keeping up!