I keep getting a call from some California number I don’t recognize. It used to come every day at like two in the afternoon, when I’m either in class or teaching, so I couldn’t pick up. And since they never left a message, I haven’t really worried about it. I’ve just assumed it’s a telemarketer or something, perhaps like the Colorado call I always get in Spanish about my car insurance. But recently California has been calling at odd times, and more frequently, even on the weekends.
So what do I do? I don’t pick up, obviously. It’s a matter of stubbornness now. I’ve never answered this call before, so why would I answer it now? Or maybe it’s a matter of fear. Whenever I get a mysterious phone call or an important-looking letter in the mail, I get a little bit terrified. I’m convinced the law will eventually catch up with me for my rampant history of excessively overdue library books.
But as far as I can tell, I’m all paid up on library fines, so curiosity is beginning to get the best of me regarding this mysterious caller. Maybe the CEO of my California-based grocery store has gotten wind of what a stellar employee I am and what a killer job I do at stocking our greeting cards. Maybe he’s getting so antsy to give me a massive pay raise that he’s begun calling me every day, even on Saturdays.
But I’m still kind of scared that I somehow have an accidentally-stolen book on my shelf somewhere from some California library I’ve never visited. So when California called today, I let it ring. Someday, if it’s really important, they’ll leave a message.
Today they did.
So I gathered my wits about me and I called my voicemail, cheerfully narrated by Annoying Lady.
You have. Nine. New. Messages. First message. From. Phone number…
Nine?! Seriously?? Good grief, I hate voicemail. I never check it. I just call people back (usually). And once I call them back, it’s not important to listen to the message they left me, so they tend to kind of pile up. Next year my New Year’s resolution is going to be to listen to every voicemail message as soon as I receive it and not ever let more than three of them accumulate at a time. One time I called my voicemail and Annoying Lady told me that I had Seventeen. New. Messages. First message. From. Phone number… I hung up. And I shuddered in horror. Who could possibly listen to seventeen new voicemail messages? Certainly not I. I listened to three of them each day until I’d conquered them all. Take that, foul telephonic scum.
Anyway, Annoying Lady announced nine new messages when I called this afternoon. Just eight messages standing between me and solving the mystery of the California caller once-and-for-all. Somehow I made it through the eight. I’m sure I only survived by deleting most of them as soon as Annoying Lady assured me they were surely too old to be relevant anymore. And then I came to it. To the mysterious California caller.
Next message. From. Phone number. Three-two-three. Three-three-zero. One-four-two-two-nine. Received at. One fifty-eight. PM.
To erase. Press seven. To return this call. Press eight. To save. Press Nine.
A blank message. I dialed seven and hung up. So I still loathe voicemail, and I still don’t know who is the mysterious California caller. Maybe I’ll google the number.
I bet it’s the California Public Library Foundation.
By the way, just in case California is a real person, I changed the phone number a little bit to protect Mysterious Caller’s mysterious identity.