Phone rings yesterday and it’s a young man from Bangalore, India or Mogadishu, Somalia or Reykjavik, Iceland or Whogives, Aturdistan calling asking if they may speak to a “Mr. or Mrs. McLain.” With McLain being Susan’s maiden moniker I tell them honestly and matter of factly that there is no one here at this number by that name and instead of being a good little telemarketer from halfway around the fucking world and hanging up right after saying how incredibly sorry he is, the kid inquires “But is this [insert phone number here]?” and instead of telling the guy to sod off I acknowledge that indeed I have been unlucky enough for him to have reached those digits in that specific sequence.
“And this is not the residence of a Mr. or Mrs. McLain?”
I somehow find the patience to affirm again that it is not, but once more instead of hanging up with an apology he launches into some desperation script â€” except this time his accent gets in the way and all I catch is when he says “Los Angeles Times” and I cut him off.
“If you are calling to solicit me for a subscription to the L.A. Times I already take the paper,” I say. Again there’s no apology no disconnect. I’m suddenly the most interesting person in this dude’s entire world and he wants to know my name and how often I get the paper. I opt to keep my identity to myself but I do tell him the rate of delivery of the paper to our front door, slowly and painfully, sounding out each damn letter:
E – v – e – r – y – d – a – y
Well, that finally puts a stop to any progress he’d deluded himself into believing he was making and he finally said he was sorry for the interruption and hung up. I put the phone down and shake my head at Susan who can’t believe I stayed on the call as long as I did. No sooner do I sit down in the livingroom when the phone rings again and I get a strange sensation that it’s the same guy, but I perish the though as just not possible.
I’m totally wrong. It’s totally him, but at least this time he’s apologizing for the further disturbance right away instead of making me practically beg for it. With that out of the way his accent gets back in the way and I have to ask him to repeat whatever he’s just said, upon which he slows down and I’m able to piece his poorly structured sentence together and find that in the wake of wasting my time soliciting me for a product I already purchase, now he wants to know if I’ll cough up names and numbers of anyone I think would like to get the newspaper.
In hindsight I should have just busted out in the jovial affirmative and told him to call my good friends Rusty Bedsprings and I.P. Freely and Uri Credible and Zachary All at various bogus numbers, but instead I’m so incredulous that the “Are you kidding me?” that’s fully locked and loaded in my head jams in the breech and instead I just cough out an emphatic “no” and hang up. Gah!
Since recently resubbing at the $99/year rate (I cancelled in protest when they axed the weekly Outdoors section late last year), I’ve fielded easily a dozen LA Timesian telemarketing calls, but this is the first time the bastids have come after me as Mr. McLain. I don’t care if they call looking for Donald Duck next time, I swear to gawd if I get one single other L.A. Times telemarketing call, I’m going to cancel the rag again.