Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ghost in the Cell Phone?

I was under the impression that, unless one gave out a cell phone number to lots and lots of people and businesses, it was pretty certain that the only incoming calls would be from one's familiars. Maybe a misdialed number once every six months or so, but nothing more.
During my trip to Washington and New York, however (that trip about which I have said next to nothing despite good intentions), I discovered otherwise. While I was sitting quietly listening to talks about Central European Modernism, my cell phone began to collect messages to someone named Lee! People kept telling me that they had received my (Lee's) email about a contract and would email back, or that they wanted to discuss plans for a vacation in Jamaica that would involve their spouse and children.
I was sorely baffled, because I have almost never met anyone named Lee and very few people have my cell phone number. I could only conclude that Lee had accidentally given these people my number; perhaps Lee was dyslexic or something.
When I went to New Orleans the following week, the problem continued. Quite a few calls came in, especially at times between panels when I was expecting to hear from Kristen, Jesse, Shawn, or Deanna about plans to meet somewhere. It was difficult to train myself to look and see whether the call was coming from anyone I knew, because I am accustomed to answering if that won't be a social error. The weirdest part was when Lee herself called in the belief she was calling her voice mail or some such thing. Had I been more alert at the time, I would have said something intelligent and pointed out that I was getting a lot of her calls, but no, I was too befuddled to do that. After that, every time she called and got my voice, she hung up before I could say anything. This grew rather tiresome.
After a few days, the barrage ceased, and I assumed the problem (whatever it was) had resolved itself, but more mystery calls came in today. No, I don't know about these contracts or about the computer repairs Lee would like to have done or the house she is thinking of buying. I am learning to hit the Ignore button and hope that some of these people will actually listen to my voice message, which expressly tells them only to leave messages for ME and not anyone else.
Hmm. Is my phone number on hundreds of business cards, or is the phone company confusing the two humbers and sending my incoming calls elsewhere? Inquiring minds want to know.



Blogger Kristen said...

Stranger things have happened... Amy has a "delightful" story about a work cell phone she had back in her nursing days. Its number was (apparently) mistakenly published in the back of the newspaper where the "naughty" ads can be found. At first she thought some creep just had the wrong number and the she realized it was more than one guy calling for, um, "services." It was actually a couple of months before she could convince someone to stay on the phone and tell her where he got the number. May your phone adventures not take the same turn!

November 29, 2007 1:58 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Hmm. I don't think my experience will be quite as much of an adventure. My phone ghost persona seems to be a strongly business-oriented character. I suppose that if I had gotten Amy's callers, I might manage to make some kind of academic study of it (albeit not in art history unless as some sort of performance or conceptual art), but let's just say I don't have time for that this year!

November 29, 2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

A few years ago I was given a cell phone number that had been mistakenly also given to another person. Some of the time I got the calls (his and mine) and other times he got mine and his. A certain relative of mine was pretty furious about this problem. The other person started calling me like they were my answering service. Hey you better call so and so they are really....!
Finally, after several days it got fixed.

November 30, 2007 6:30 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

I hope I don't have to involve TMobile in this...

November 30, 2007 2:48 PM  

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