by Barbara Zapson
I am a night person and a late sleeper, which is something I’d looked forward to all my working years. My husband, on the other hand, is usually asleep by 9:30 and wakens about 8 AM. We have phones in every room of our one-bedroom apartment (including the bathroom), and the ringing often awakens me out of a sound sleep.
___After a few years of being loudly woken up before I was ready that was turning me into a grouch, my husband decided to mute the bedroom and bathroom phones to keep me happy. He could answer the ringing phones in the kitchen, dining room or living room. Then, for some reason, during the pandemic, he decided we needed all the phones ringing “in case of an emergency”!
___“What kind of an emergency can we have?”, I asked. “Our parents are no longer living, our children are all grown, for goodness’ sake even our GRAND children are grown, so leave the phones muted”, I said.
___“You never can tell, Julio answered.” “Maybe a fire or one of our neighbors has a problem, or one of our grandkids is in trouble and afraid to tell their parents.”
___“A fire or a neighbor’s problem would cause a knock on the door or the doorbell to ring, and our grandkids are more afraid of me than they are of their parents! Do you remember what one of them said about me ‘yelling at him with my eyes’?”
___The argument was dropped for a few weeks. I had several weeks of peaceful mornings and he had a happy wife. Then it started again with “It could be any kind of problem or emergency!” I finally gave up and told Julio, “OK, OK, you win! Unmute the phones!”
___The phone did not ring early in the morning for four days. On the 5th day, it rang in the middle of the night. Needless to say, we both nearly jumped out of our skin. The call went something like this: “This is the Social Security Department calling to tell you that we found someone fooling around with your Social Security Card. Please press 9 to speak with a representative.” Of course, we hung up. The next day at 5 A.M. the phone rang again, and that call was from an insurance company, threatening to end our insurance and repossess our car! We do not own a car.
___But it was the call from China, in Chinese, at 3 A.M., mentioning Bank of America in English, that finally convinced Julio there was no reason to keep the phones ringing overnight or early in the morning.