New phone rules for wrong numbers

MEEKER | One of my favorite things about small town living has been the conversations that inevitably followed the words, “Sorry, wrong number.” These misplaced calls were often the result of someone not paying close enough attention to their fingers. Those were the dinosaur-days of yore, when telephones were either attached to the wall or they were placed upon a bedside table or kitchen counter.

When mobile phone use overtook landline use, no one needed to apologize for disturbing anyone.

Pocket calls, more often dubbed with a four-letter word referring to the posterior, has taken the place of misplaced calls. No one says sorry much these days, yet I continue to rely on it. It has come in very handy on both my landline and my cell. I found myself saying a version of that old saying, I received one of the more modern versions of reaching a wrong number. “I am so sorry your phone called me. Wrong number.”

Facial recognition is now being used to unlock one’s mobile phone, so any day I am sure I will be able to have my phone take care of the most recent development in misdirected calls. I answered two video calls on my cell phone recently and found myself struggling for words when the caller’s face came into view. Both of us regarded one another incredulously. The first time this happened, I could not see who was calling me well enough, as he was looking down. I remember telling him that I did not think I was the one he was trying to reach before hanging up. The second call I was even more surprised. I had glanced down to see which friend or family had time to take time for a chat. I was so excited to see the familiar number of one of my closest friends. I thought she had finally joined the real world. Answering quickly, I started to greet her and congratulate her on joining me in one of my favorite pastimes during this pandemic.

Dolly Viscardi

My weekly chats with grandchildren, family and friends has helped to keep me sane. As the face of the caller came into view, I realized my erroneous assumption. It was the second call from the unidentified stranger — a male of indiscriminate age from this appearance. Stammering out the same old misplaced phone call mantra, I stopped when I realized my mistake. My brain took over, so I did not blurt out another inappropriate four-letter word standing for a second body part. “Sorry, wrong face,” might not have sounded ruder than “Sorry, butt call,” yet it sounded wrong somehow.

“Sorry, you called the wrong number,” I heard myself say as I hit the red “end call“ button. I walked into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea or coffee. Getting a new-fangled version of one of the things I have always liked best about living in Meeker was oddly comforting somehow.


By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times