Some guy named Israel once had my phone number.
I learned this when I went to Auto Zone to buy windshield wiper blades. Auto Zone is one of those corporations that tracks customers by their phone numbers. After the counter guy punched mine into his computer, he looked at me and said, Israel?
Not even close, I told him.
Now when I make a purchase at Auto Zone, both my name and Israel’s pops up on the computer screen. Will Israel ever be cleared from their system?
Even though I’ve had my phone number for four years, I still occasionally get calls for Israel. Who goes so long without talking to a friend that s/he doesn’t know he changed his phone number over four years ago?
Sometimes the caller speaks in Spanish, and I’m not sure if he (it’s almost always men who call) is calling particularly for Israel or if it’s a misdial. These guys hang up when I say, Hello? Hello? What? Maybe they know the person they want to talk to is not an English-speaking woman.
Often my phone is turned off or put away, so I don’t hear it ring, and I don’t realize until later that someone I don’t know called. Those folks hardly ever leave a message. I only suspect they’re Israel’s friends because their area code is the same as mine.
A couple of times, I’ve actually spoken with the person who was trying to find Israel.
One guy cut me off with apologies before I could finish saying, You have the wrong number. I don’t know anyone named Israel. I’ve had this number for three years.
Another guy, upon hearing my wrong number rap, said only Sorry, lady, sorry before hanging up.
Maybe after not speaking to Israel for years, those guys didn’t really expect him to answer his last known number.
The most exasperating caller never asked for Israel, so I don’t know if she were trying to contact him or someone else.
The caller was an old lady, from the sound of her, a very old lady. I heard from her several times in the first few months after I got my phone number.
I can’t remember if she first left a message on my voice mail or if I actually answered a call from a number I didn’t recognize. In any case, I found myself speaking with a very old woman who denied calling me. She was convinced I’d called her. Well, I did call her, at least once, after she’d left a message on my voice mail, but she denied she’d called me first. I tried to tell her she had the wrong number, but she couldn’t understand she’d dialed the wrong number when she was convinced I’d called her. After a couple of rounds of us both claiming the other had called first, I named her number Old Lady Who Didn’t Call. Since the phone I had then didn’t allow me to block numbers, I just wouldn’t answer when I saw the Old Lady Who Didn’t Call was calling.
I haven’t heard from the Old Lady Who Didn’t Call in a long time. I hope she finally contacted the person she really wanted to talk to.