I rarely answer calls from unknown numbers anymore. I have no nostalgia for the days when the phone rang and you had to run the risk of talking to someone you'd rather avoid (a telemarketer, a crazed ex, your boorish uncle once removed), in order to answer. So I'm not sure why, but this morning, as I was shoveling yoghurt into The Grape's mouth before eight o'clock, I picked up a call from an unidentified number.
"Can I speak to Karen?" the adult male voice asked. "You have a wrong number," I replied. Normally that would be the whole conversation, right? Nope. "Wait. Is this Karen?"
"No, it's not. There is no Karen here."
I was about to hang up when he said, "When you ran out this morning, you left your diaphragm on my bathroom sink."
"I most certainly did not." The Grape picked this moment to pipe up. Maybe he was, like me, marveling that this conversation had gone on this long. I repeated that he definitely had a wrong number and assumed he'd say sorry and hang up.
Not so much.
"So there's no Karen at this number?" he repeated, sounding genuinely baffled.
"Do you think she gave me a fake number?"
"Stranger things happen."
"Why do women do that?"
"I can't help you."
"Are you sure we didn't hook up last night?"
"Didn't we meet at Vox last night around 9?"
"I was in bed with my book at 9. In case you can't hear him, I have a baby."
"Oh. Are you sure this isn't your diaphragm?"
"A hundred per cent sure."
"Why did she sneak out on me before six this morning?"
"How should I know? Probably because she decided you weren't for her."
"Ouch. That was harsh."
"Dude. You asked." The Grape redoubled his protest that food service had experienced a temporary slow down.
"Are you sure you're not Karen?"
I finally hung up. He called back four times, and I let it roll to voice mail. He must have finally listened to the outgoing message and decided I was telling the truth.
I can see why she dashed before dawn without leaving her contact info. I mean, whoever he was, he sounded like he had a great propensity to be certain yet wrong. Much like a particular politician who's name isn't worth mentioning.
But Karen, if you're out there, next time you bail on a one night stand, please choose a different number. Or not. I mean, your truncated date gave me today's material. Thanks for that.