I'm having a love-hate relationship with my telephone lately. I love it when nobody calls, and I hate it when it rings.
I'm not referring to my cellphone, which I have primarily for business purposes, but our landline, which we apparently have for annoyance purposes.
First, there is the plethora of calls from companies wanting us to "switch" from our current services to theirs. At first this wasn't too bad. After all, I understand and even applaud the concept of competitive business practices. After the 45th call of the day, I started to become a little less understanding.
Then there are calls from solicitors who absolutely will not take "no" for an answer. They go something like this: Ring. Ring. "Hello?"
"Hello, is this Mrs. Smith?"
"Yes, it is."
"Wonderful! Good day, ma'am. My name is (insert whatever). How are you doing this fine day?"
(This is where I get suspicious. None of my friends are ever that happy to talk to me.) "Um, I'm fine"
"Super duper! The reason I'm calling today is to let you know that you've been selected for a free vacation for two to Shark Island Resort and Bait Emporium! All we need from you is a $500 processing fee and you'll be on your way! Thrilling, isn't it? Visa or Mastercard?"
"Well, actually, neither. This isn't a good time for a vacation, and"
"C'mon, ma'am! Not a good time? It's always a good time for a vacation, especially a free one."
"No, sorry, it really isn't a good time, and $500 isn't free."
"But ma'am, the $500 is merely a processing fee. Think about it! Diving, snorkeling, swimming for your lifeer, I mean splashing around gleefully.
My favorite annoying phone call of late has to do with mistaken identity. Apparently whoever had our phone number at one time ran a tavern. At least twice a week we get calls from companies wanting to "improve our business output" or sell us alcohol. My personal favorite happened the other night about 6 p.m. Ring. Ring. "Hello."
"Hi. Do you have live music on Wednesdays?"
"Well, not typically, but if you would like I can sing something from John Denver's Greatest Hits.
Last are the calls with prerecorded messages. These run the gamut from political advertisements to credit card offers. To make it even more annoying, if you hang up mid-spiel, the phone rings again and the message takes up where it left off. Clever. Diabolically clever.
It seems to me we spend a lot of time hearing from folks we don't want to hear from telling us stuff we don't need to know. What really matters is hearing from God. We only need to be still and listen.