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April 2nd, 2007

The Trouble With Business Cards

The Trouble with Business Cards - My phone is ringing. I pick it up, but check the call ID before I answer it. It says private. That usually means work of some sort, so I press the button and say, "Hi, this is Ben, how can I help you," in a tone that D most recently called my Professional-Trustworthy-Worth-the-Money-You're-About-to-Give-Me-Tone. It takes me back, that tone. Takes me back to when I used to work in a cinema as a projectionist and I would have to answer the phone during busy periods. Projectionists are, really, people with a lot of spare time between sessions. At any rate, here I am, at nine o'clock at night, and I am using this tone, and then a voice says,

"Is this Ben?"

"Yeah, this is." I am mentally preparing myself for work thoughts. It's nine at night--people don't usually call then, but everyone is different. "What can I do for you."

"This is Ben, yes?" The voice is female, but that doesn't mean anything. "I'm looking for Ben."

"That's me. Who am I speaking to?"

"Could you tell me how old you are?"

I pause.

"I just--I want to know your age, that's all," she says.

That's a weird work related question, I think. "How about you tell me who you are, first."

She says, "Just tell me how old you are?"

L told me, recently, that April Fools Day ends at midday. I'd never heard that before--I figured it was a free for all the entire day. I figure a lot of people don't know the half a day rule, either. I say, "How old do you think I am?"

"Mid-twentiesh."

"There you go. Now, where'd you get this number from?"

"You have a sexy voice," the girl says. Her english sounds a little broken--I'm thinking Asian, but really, who knows. "Do you know that?"

"Seriously, where'd you get this number?"

"The internet. I got it off the internet. You must be very popular."

"Yeah, I'm so popular that complete strangers ring me up in the night to ask my age and tell me what a sexy voice I have. Now, who are you?"

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to upset you." There is a pause and I try to think of something I can say, but this isn't going to way of usual prank calls, wherein they continue to ask questions, and I get weirder and weirder, until I finally push the gross out button and they hang up. Everyone needs a hobby. She says, "I'm very sorry--look I didn't mean to cause... I'll go now. I'm sorry."

And the line goes dead.