When I moved to D.C. in 2004 I changed my number from an upstate NY to a 202 number. The residue of the previous holder of my phone number was almost immediately apparent. The day after I arrived in my new apartment in Adams Morgan I went to the Safeway (the ghetto ghetto Safeway, where the mangos were always covered with fruit flies and the broccoli was a sea of mold). I forgot my brand-spanking-new Safeway discount-y card thing, but the woman told me that I just needed to put in my phone number. I never had a landline while I was living in the District, so I typed in my brand-spanking new cell number. The cashier handed me my receipt and said "thank you, Mrs. Sullivan." I looked at the receipt and, sure enough, it had a line thanking Sean Sullivan for shopping with Safeway.
Now, I don't mind being mistaken for Mrs. Sullivan at the grocery store, but within a couple of days I started to get phone calls from a Chrysler dealer in the Midwest. He was hoping to catch Mr. Sullivan to discuss his delinquent truck payments. I explained that this was no longer Mr. Sullivan's number, and that I couldn't help him with getting those truck payments in. And ever since, every three months or so, I get a call from this Chrysler dealer looking for those pick up truck payments. Often, it was an automated message reminding me about Sean's truck payments. Occasionally, I would get a person. On those less common occasions, I would always explain that it wasn't Sean's number anymore, and I'd really, really like it if they took my number off the account. I mean, I assume he must be paying at least some of the time-- wouldn't it have gone to collections otherwise? Wouldn't I be hearing from a lawyer about the suit against Mr. Sullivan if he wasn't mostly paying for the truck? Still, every few months, a number I don't recognize pops up and when I answer it I hear the recorded message from a Chrysler dealer looking for some cash.
I bring this up because this afternoon, as I was in the middle of composing an email, my phone rang. Some number I didn't recognize, and when I picked up I got a man asking for Sean. Then he asked for a woman with the same last name, and then a completely different person. I explained to the man that I *still* am not Sean, his wife, his mother, his girlfriend, or anyone else, but that I've been hearing from them for almost four years now, and I'm really over it.He apologized (they always do) and said he'd take my number off the account (they always say that too).
Strangely, Sean isn't the only person haunting my number. There is some chick named Fiona who gets quite a few calls. I can't decide what the deal is, but I've narrowed it down to three possibilities: a) she's dyslexic and keeps giving out my number, but hers has a different order or something, so she thinks she's giving out hers; b) everyone Fiona knows is dyslexic, and they keep transposing numbers when they dial; c) I'm suffering from multiple personality disorder, and "Fiona" is the one who likes to party.
That last one reminds me of my doppelganger in New York... though that is a separate story, really. Another time.
Anyhoodle, someone called for Fiona just last week. They always seem so perplexed. I must sound like her as well, as they all seem to respond with a tone of voice that makes me think that they think I am Fiona, but I'm just taking the piss.
Lastly, I get regular phone calls from my old apartment building. The building has a buzzer system that gets linked to your phone number. Well, I didn't have a land line (see above), so it got linked to my cell. When I moved out, more than two years ago, they never switched it to the number of the person living there now. I don't know if it's been the same person the entire time, but if it is, there are two phases to his life over the last two years. Year One: The party year. I discovered that it was still hooked up to the buzzer when I got a phone call at Three Thirty In The A.M. from a drunken fellow speaking in drunken French. He was asking to speak to Philippe. I indicated (first in English, and then in French) that he had the wrong number, but he kept yelling for Philippe. Finally, he demander that I ouvre la port.I hung up on him. He called back. I hung up again, he called back again. Finally, I turned off my phone.
I got numerous late night phone calls asking to be let in. I eventually figured out that it was the buzzer from my old building. I called my old landlord to request that they disconnect the buzzer, but still, I would hear from Philippe's drinking buddies. At some point, the late night buzzing stopped. It has been replaced, however, by the UPS guy. I'm thinking that Philippe took himself off someplace else (like, I don't know, a town where people actually like to party or something), and has been replaced by someone who is a compulsive internet shopper or eBay buyer or something, because the UPS guy asks to be let in a couple times a week. Mind you, I am glad not to be woken up by Philippe's friends anymore, but still.... I don't want to hear from the UPS guy this much, particularly when he isn't bringing anything for me. The UPS guy was asking to be let in just yesterday. So hear I am, in Richmond, with a UPS guy hanging out under the awning of an apartment building in D.C., waiting for me to buzz him in. Now, when I see the number, I just hit ignore. They all leave messages, asking me to open the door. It's annoying, but what can you do?
Update: Apparently I spoke too soon-- my phone went off about fifty times yesterday with the number for my old building, including once at three in the morning. Grrrrrrrr.....