Friday, February 8, 2013

I Have a Neighbor Named...Who?

The house phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and saw "Private Number" displayed on the screen.  I didn't pick it up.  Then, it rang again.  I yelled at the phone.

"Why the hell are you calling me with a blocked number!  I don't answer those."

Picking up the phone, I gruffly half-shouted a salutation at it.  A sweet voice came over the line.

"Hello, may I speak to Tammy Whipton* please?"

"Uh...sorry ma'am.  No Tammy Whipton here," I said matter of factly.

"Really, sir?  I'm looking at court documents and she has right here as her primary contact, your name, number, and address."

Frankly, knowing no Tammy in my neighborhood, let alone someone who would consider me a primary contact, flattered as that made me, I replied (chuckling), "Hmmm...that's funny."

"I'm sorry sir," she retorted, "I don't see the humor in it."

Crap.  I thought this was a pleasant phone call.  I thought we were both trying to figure out a problem together, and attempted to be amiable, but she was serious.  I could tell she thought I was lying.  As far as she knew, I was a meth cooker with a stash of weed under my basement stairs, hiding felons in a Corrie Ten Boom-style bunker in my third floor tower's fake ceiling.  I heard in her voice that she suspected Tammy looking over my shoulder, listening to the phone call, twittering a little giggle into her hand, trying helplessly to stop from bursting into a fit of loud laughter.  She pressed on.

"Sir, why do you think Tammy put your name on her court documents as her primary contact?"

"That's an excellent question," I mocked.  "Looks like we're both now wondering the same thing."

"Sir, this is just a bit strange."

"No shit.  Here, let me call my wife.  Maybe she knows Tammy.  Give me your number and I'll call you back with the details."

"I'm sorry sir.  I don't give out my personal information.  I'm a processor of court documents, you know.  You want me to call her? "

"Um, no.  I don't give random people, who tell me neighbors I don't have, put me on court documents, that only allegedly exist, my wife's personal information.  Call me back in five minutes."

"Okay," she said, obviously irritated, and hung up.

I called Kristine and got the answer I was expecting.  No.  She didn't know a Tammy Whipton.  Yes, she still loved me.  Yes, she would be happy if I made her meatballs and spaghetti (in that order) for dinner tonight.  No, she wouldn't stop at the liquor store to get a bottle of Minnestalgia Blueberry Wine from McGregor, Minnesota.  No, she wasn't going through PMS. Then the cussing started due to my assertion, so I quickly got off the phone, called up a local florist, ordered some flowers with a card that said, 

I'm deeply sorry.  I realize your irritability had nothing to do with your physiological chemistry and had everything to do with your personality that I fell in love with so many years ago.  I love you with all of my heart - except for the part I kinda need for the Minnestalgia Raspberry Honeywine, but we can discuss my love affair with that later.  I hope this dozen roses will bring you back home to my arms tonight. 

Shortly thereafter, the processor called back and introduced herself by her fake name.  I knew her real name was "Private Number" and "Emilou Harkness" didn't impress me.  My caller ID never lies.

"Did you get the details from your wife?"

"Yes.  She's not buying the wine.  But more to your point, as I suspected, she doesn't know a Tammy Whipton."

"Sir, that doesn't make any sense.  How could she have gotten your information," she whipped out, her voice rising in anger.  She was convinced she was being lied to.  I felt bad that I was having fun.  I knew nothing of this Tammy woman and yet had always been kind to everyone who abused me or didn't have the right to ask things of me.  I was finally asserting my rights - at 32.

"Well, Emilou, this is a public number.  If she had my cell number, well then..."

Emilou cut me off.

"Doesn't it worry you that she's entering your information on court documents?"

"Well, now.  Does that involve me in the court case at all?  Can I get called into court because of this mix-up?"


"Well then, no it doesn't worry me.  Not at all."

"Sir, why would Tammy say she knew you and yet you don't know her?"

"Isn't that your problem?  I don't think it's remotely my issue."

Thoroughly frustrated and deeply suspicious, Emilou quickly excused herself and hung up.

I've arrived.  I'm ready to be an old crank, pissing off the nicest people.  People who are just doing their jobs - and doing them well.  Yes.  Those people.  They will spit on my coffin at my funeral, saying things like, "How did Kristine ever put up with him?!"

*all names have been changed to protect the innocent (or, more likely, the guilty)