This is the third in a series of autobiographical short stories by author Rita Antoinette Borg, collectively titled A Funny Thing Happened to Me….

A funny thing happened to me when I answered the telephone. Actually, what you are about to read concerns three unconnected phone calls on three different days in three distinct years when phones were always attached to something.

The first call happened years ago. I had just married. Our new house had a new phone and telephone number. (I won’t get into this, but once this fact was a EUREKA! I got it! I got it! moment!)

One July morning, the phone rang: Ring! Ring! Ring!

Besides being my younger self, my black phone posed in the corner of the white kitchen floor minus the actual white kitchen. I answered promptly.

Me: Hello!

Caller: Hello! Is Mike there?

Me: He’s at the hospital.

Caller: What happened?

Me:  He went to work.

Caller: You gave me a fright! What’s he doing there?

Me: (shrugging) He’s working.

Caller:  He’s installing some doors?

Me: No!

Caller: Then what?

Me: Mm! Are we talking about the same Mike?  Is he a doctor?

Caller: No!  I wish; I’d get free visits. Mike’s a carpenter.

Me: Oh! Wrong number then. Bye!

Caller: Wait!  Your accent!? It’s American!

Me: Last time I checked, yes!

Caller: You live next to my brother, Mike the carpenter!

Me: Oh! Hello!

That phone call ended well. I cannot say the same for the following two calls.

Another phone call

On one particularly hot morning, I had finished cooking my breakfast, and preparing to gobble up the fruits of my hard toil. I had made two buttermilk pancakes, two fried eggs, two halves of honey roasted tomatoes and a glass of freshly squeezed oranges straight from my garden. (Don’t get hungry, keep on reading.) I was settling into the kitchen chair, grabbed my fork and knife, and posed to cut my creation when ring! ring! ring! the phone rang.

I pouted.

Nevertheless, I answered politely.

Me: Hello!

Caller: Hi! Rosie, Rosie, Rosie! How are you, you big bosomed babe?  (rough translation of the Maltese word: ġisem.)

Me: Oh my!  I think you have the wrong number.

Caller:  Nooo! I remember it. Rosie, don’t play games.

Me:  I am not Rosie. Rosie doesn’t live her. You have the wrong number!

Caller: Nooo! I have the number here. It’s 21xxx xxx. And that’s what I dialled.

Me: Well, if you weren’t always looking at Rosie’s curvy body, your eyesight would be much better and more precise. Rosie does not live here.

I hung up. Maybe Rosie gave this uncouth man a wrong number. But did it have to be my number?

I ate my perfect breakfast with distaste. I would have given it to my dog, but this food is not good for her; I could have thrown it away, but I hate wasting food. So I ate it.

Phone call number three

My last phone call, um, calls are a bit more complicated.

You see, these phone calls happen every single day. You read that right. Every single day!

Me: Hello!

Caller: Hello! insurance?

Me: No! wrong number.

Caller: Wrong number? That can’t be. I have the number right here!!! (yelling at me.)

Me: Yes, it can and you did.

On a good day, the conversation continues like so:

Me: Please dial correctly. The numbers in front of the number you want is 23, however, the number YOU dialled starts with 21.

Caller: Oh, excuse me! Excuse me!  These numbers make me crazy.

Me: No problem. Please redial correctly.

BUT, on a bad day, …

a funny thing happens to me…. I go berserk!

Being a person who doesn’t like to let sleeping dogs lie, I called the manager of this insurance place.

Me: Hello? Mr. X

Mr. X: Yes, that’s me. How can I help you?

Me: Can you change your number please, because your callers are driving me bonkers. They call every day at my house endlessly.

Mr. X: oh, ho, ho, no, of course not. I picked your number on purpose. You see, it’s so easy, everyone remembers it. I paid a lot for your number. Now it’s my number. Have a good day.

He hung up.

Be careful when you dial the phone; look at the numbers carefully, because the person on the other side could be having a bad day. A really bad day! and just so you know, she might tell you that the person you want to talk to has just left the building, and will not be coming back any time soon. Now, wouldn’t that be a funny thing to happen!

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