Monday, December 7, 2015

O Canada!

I've had the same phone number since I got my first cell phone back in 1998. In the beginning the only people that called me were the kids. In spite of my instructions that that they should call me at work only if someone was injured, bleeding, or on fire, they occasionally called so I could arbitrate arguments, they could tattle on each each other (Ryan was playing Gameboy before his homework was done, or Justin was taking eggs out of the refrigerator yet again to hide them in his slippers in hopes of hatching a chicken), or just to tell me that they were hungry and there was nothing good to eat.

About nine years ago I started getting calls from a number I didn't recognize. This only happened three or four times a year, and because I was usually busy working in the library, the callers left messages. The first message I got was someone asking me to reactivate their phone service because they were on their way home from Florida, and several months later the next message was someone complaining that their bill had been paid so why was I still sending them letters about past due charges. Over the years, the calls have increased in frequency, along with various sad, bewildering, and humorous messages. Five years ago it became disruptive enough that I tried to figure out what was going on.

It turns out that my phone number is the same as Bell of Canada's, except for one digit. Bell of Canada has a 5 in their area code; I have the number 8 in mine, and the 8 happens to be directly below the number 5 on the dial pad.

I changed my voice mail message to say that I was NOT Bell of Canada, but people didn't seem to listen, including some family members. My father and mother-in-law both told me that something was wrong with my phone because the message said they had reached Bell of Canada. (This may be related to poor hearing and refusal to wear hearing aids.)

I'm not going to change my phone number, so now I have a ringtone for all the people I actually want to talk to, ignore the calls from everyone else, shake my head, and laugh. I had three calls on Friday from one persistent Canadian, so someday I may make this into a drinking game. I have had the pleasure of speaking with a very funny and apologetic man in Castleton, Ontario and also the Peel Regional Police in Brampton, Ontario who wanted to ask me for suggestions on how to deal with telemarketers. I explained to the officer that he had misdialed and should redial the correct number carefully; you can probably guess who I was talking to again just 15 seconds later.

Wilbur's is a liquor store in Fort Collins. We do have liquor stores here, but I may have been Christmas shopping.

This is just my small contribution to bringing the US and Canada closer together, 
one wrong number at a time.


  1. This is pretty funny. I like the idea of turning it into a drinking game.

  2. Oh, Bonny. You are a very patient woman . . . with a wicked sense of humor! :-)

  3. You are a very good person. Go for the drinking game.

  4. I can relate - when our business moved to RI 18 years ago they assigned us the old phone number to Bank of America. I can't tell you how many years we got phone calls from people asking what their balance was! Good idea you had to assign ring tones.

  5. I love this! Tiny slices of someone else's life told with humor -- my favorite. I especially like the eggs in the slippers in hopes of hatching a chicken.

    I have gotten a couple of calls left on voice mail from some teenagers' beloved aunt. The last message was that she was going to take them shoe shopping. I returned the call, got her voice mail, and left a message that 1, I am not her niece(s), but that B, she can take me shoe shopping any time she wants.

    Haven't gotten another message from her since.

  6. I used to have a number one digit off from the animal hospital. Ugh. Fortunately it was a land line and when I moved it did not move with me.

  7. what Carole, Kym and Margene said...and my small contribution: darn, I thought you were going to say you got a new phone (or phone number) ;-)

  8. that would drive me nuts and you are a blessed saint. I have on occasion received phone calls for other people's appointment reminders and if I'm in a giving mood I'll call the doctor receptionist and tell them they called the wrong number.


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