Friday, November 4, 2011

Past Deadline: Thanks for Calling, But....

I want to preface this column by saying I really like the office administrators at my kids’ school. They are friendly, efficient, organized and generally wonderful.

That said, when the phone rings and the school number comes up on the call display, I don’t particularly want to talk to them.

Usually I would much rather dive under my desk and slap my hands over my ears. Nice. Dark and quiet.

Except those clever office administrators have my cell number, too, and they know how to use it. Often they call it first, and I will be caught somewhere with no desk for diving. If it weren’t for the fact I love Mr. George BlackBerry, executive assistant, I would be inclined to fling the phone into the bushes when they call.

Why so tense? Well, I would love to be able to say they are calling to tell me that one or both of my children have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize or that they have been selected to be honorary chairs of a special philanthropic children’s foundation or even that they won a prize or some such glorious thing.

I am grateful, at least, they have not, so far, called to say my children have been expelled.

I think they have me on speed dial anyway, and the reason they do is because Germ Season™ has begun.


One of my kids (the one who is not crazy about school) occasionally falls victim to illnesses that feature ambiguous symptoms. This leaves me guessing as to the veracity of the claim, thus throwing me into turmoil: am I an uncaring mother who lacks sympathy for her child who is actually sick or simply a frazzled mother who is trying to work and has reason to be suspicious?

Either scenario is undesirable.

There are few other phone numbers that cause me such angst. Sometimes when they pop up I am tempted to dive under the desk. Usually I don’t though, because I don’t fit very well underneath. And it’s dusty under there. It’s just easier to answer the phone if I am in its vicinity.

I am cautious with unknown numbers, however. I sometimes hate talking to strangers. It’s one of the reasons I left reporting – so many strange people. I mean strangers.

Anyway, back to unknown numbers. There’s just something so darned unknown about them, don’t you find? Somehow my spirit of adventure (chortle) is not ignited by the mystique of answering mystery phone numbers.

After all, it could be a salesperson or a scammer or someone offering me something free that isn’t really free. Will I get trapped into answering questions for a survey that is “only going to take a couple of minutes, ma’am,” but ends up taking 20 minutes right at supper? Am I going to be tricked into revealing my social insurance number and bank account info and mother’s maiden name because I have trouble saying no?

Better to dive under the desk, I say. If it’s important they will leave a message.

(Okay… so if you ever call me and I don’t answer are you going to be imagining me checking messages while cowering under my desk? Hehehe.)


Sometimes you get to recognize unknown numbers, thereby making them somewhat known, and can still confirm they are Big Trouble™.

This is true when Utah calls (No offence, Utah.)

Regular readers may remember I wrote a year ago about getting to know all of the many numbers associated with a collection agency in Utah. I wrote them all down when they popped up in the middle of the night so I could call to lodge various complaints.

They were trying to send a fax to our phone line, and we finally figured out the fax they were trying to reach was one number off of ours.

It was definitely a relief to get that sorted out. As much fun as that was, I don’t miss the heart-pounding middle-of-the-night wake-up calls.

Similarly, as awesome as they are, I would much rather chat with the office administrators when I pick up the kids after a full, healthy day at school.

Here’s hoping! Germ season is only just beginning….

Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 27/11

No comments: