I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. I just don’t. I’m not alone in this, so don’t look at me like I’m some kind of freak. Voicemail was created for exactly this sort of situation: you leave a message letting a person know who you are. That’s just how it works. Like George Costanza said, “You know, we’re living in a society! We’re supposed to act in a civilized way!” Part of living in society is leaving voicemails.
That’s really not my main point, but it needed to be said.
Anyway, there is one exception I make. I have a friend who lives in a different state. He has an aversion to being named here, so I won’t tell you anything more about him except that he lives in the 419 area code, likes snakes, and one time played three recorders in front of a live audience (one in his mouth and one in each nostril).
I occasionally receive calls from him him from work. Since his workplace has several different phone lines, I don’t have them all in my cell phone under his name. Therefore, I don’t recognize the numbers. I do, however, recognize the 419 area code, so I’ll generally still pick up. It’s one of the perks of being a friend of mine for 20+ years (no, I’m still not telling you his name).
So the other night when my phone rings and it’s a 419 area code, I don’t hesitate to pick it up. I immediately say, “You’re lucky I recognize your area code or else I’d never answer the phone when you call.” This was somewhat confusing to the lady on the other end of the line, who was actually calling to get my opinions on the local political landscape (which I also felt was weird – why is someone from a completely different state calling to ask me about my local city government? And where did she get my number?).
It took a minute or two to straighten out the confusion, and by that time I felt she had earned my time, so I went ahead and answered her questions.
So now I’m faced with the fact that I have a very specific Kryptonite, and if my defenses are that easily overcome, what’s next? Will I start answering calls from any area code with those three numbers – 491, 941, 914? It’s a slippery slope and I’m more than a bit concerned.