We've been in our new house for three weeks and some folks have already found us.
Several of the neighbors have brought by little nice things to say welcome back to the neighborhood. One dear friend brought by a container of beef stew. Some folks understand me very well.
But the unwanted intruders came through a copper wire. They dialed a series of numbers causing my telephone to ring. Then, they proceeded to try to sell me something or get me to make a donation to a charity that I've never heard of.
For the last year, our home telephone has been on suspension or whatever they do down at the telephone office. That thing wasn't hooked up for 20 minutes before it started ringing with telemarketers.
They must have a list of new phone numbers they circulate to these unrelenting people who are looking for a new prospect.
Well, it's not me. Thank you and goodbye.
While the phone was on hold for a year, somebody named Juan gave out our number as his own.
Somebody with a recorded message calls for old Juan everyday. They are not calling with romantic messages. This is obviously not Don Juan. In fact, Juan and his phone friend are not friends at all. Juan owes somebody some money. They call every day looking for Juan. These are not friendly people and they're calling my house looking for some guy who has missed a payment or two and gave them my number.
I've tried to call them back and tell them that there is no Juan at home, but they put me on eternal hold.
I'm on hold with them right now. I've written every word on this page while I'm waiting to tell them that I don't want them to call me anymore.
I love what companies do when you're on hold.
"You're call is important to us," the disembodied voice keeps telling me. No, it's not. If it were so important then why don't you answer it.
They also play annoying music. I'm listening to an instrumental version of "Strangers in the Night." I'm afraid that from now on, I won't think of Frank Sinatra, I'll think of Juan. The Juan I want to get rid of.
We thought about not having a home phone at all. Everybody in the house has a cell phone and we don't use the home phone very often.
But I have a 1937 model Western Electric telephone that has a great ring. It still works just fine. We had one when I was a kid. It was mounted on a little shelf in the hall, which was the only place we had a telephone. It reminds me of a time when phone calls meant something. We only called when we needed to.
Now, we call about every five minutes on a cell phone and ask the inane question, "What are you doing?"
My response is, "Talking to you."
The old telephone is a bit slow because you have a real rotary dial. I grew up when you only had to dial four numbers. Now, you have to dial 10. My fingers get tired.
It's a good sturdy phone and would hurt someone if you hit them with it. If you're reading this, Juan, I'm armed and dangerous.
Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.