Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sorry, Wrong Number

As I sort of expected, I hardly ever use the cell phone that I got last year. Every now and then I call someone or someone calls me, but most of the time, all I ever do with it is charge the battery. I don't know why cell phone batteries need charging so often, especially when they're in phones that hardly ever get used, but that's a subject I will probably never get around to discussing.

Anyway, the other day someone called, and when she asked to speak to Stephanie, I told her, "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number." With that, she hung up.

By the way, in case you're wondering why I was apologizing to her for her mistake, I wasn't. I was basically telling her I was sorry for her that she called the wrong number. It's just a way of being polite.

She was probably being rude by just hanging up without saying something like "Sorry for bothering you," like some people do, but she may exemplify the current dominant trend. When future generations look back on the long history of human behavior, they may find that politeness was just a passing fad -- something that was sort of popular for a few hundred years until it slowly died out beginning sometime in the 20th century.

So being rude may be the rule rather than the exception these days, but this woman wasn't really even all that rude when you compare her to a lot of other people. All she did was hang up. I remember one time more than twenty years ago, some guy called and when I told him "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number," he answered back with "That's what I thought, you fag!" Then he hung up.

Maybe he thought I was a "fag" because I was being polite, sort of how Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot" a little while ago because she thought he was good-looking and well-mannered or something. Or maybe (and this is much more likely) he just liked calling people fags, and he did so whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Regardless, I'll keep the phone, and I'll continue to have people call me by accident, and I'll continue to tell them, "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number." Some of them will hang up without saying anything, and others will apologize. I'm not even sure what I do when I call the wrong number. I think I say I'm sorry, but the truth is, I don't call that many wrong numbers. I don't even use the phone that much.