Who Are These People?

We still have a land line.  It seems they are becoming obsolete, but there is one attached to our cable television and internet access, a package deal. We gave up our old phone number in order to get this “great deal”.  I found out later that other people were able to keep their original number, but we weren’t given that option.  This annoys me. It doesn’t match the other local exchanges and it is not memorable. Whenever I order Chinese take out on this phone and they ask “What number?”, I can’t remember what the number is to tell them.

The phone we have is mounted to the kitchen wall.  It is very large and very loud, as it has volume control that can be boosted way up, which is why we got it – because I can’t hear that well.   For some reason these companies equate the fact that you can’t hear with the possibility that you can’t see either and that maybe you have lost your fine motor control, because it has these giant buttons on it.  Clearly it is meant for Very Old People.  It also has a panel of big square buttons with pictures inside them of people smiling and laughing which are meant to be speed dial buttons for your family and friends.  We never got around to changing the generic photos that came installed in the buttons and putting our own people in, let alone setting up the speed dial,  so there remains a panel of stranger’s pictures on the phone – fake friends and relatives, if you will.  If you look closely, they really don’t look very related.   Every once in a while someone will see it and ask “Who are those people?”  They have been dubbed “The Fake Relatives”.   In our further disconnection from this phone line, we also have not bothered to put in a voice greeting, so you get the standard Robot Voice.  Every few days I remember to check the messages.  The S.O. usually does not answer it or check it at all.

When we lose cable service for any reason, everything goes out, including the phone, so I really don’t know what a great thing this is.   Hardly anyone ever calls us on it because they call us on our cell phones, so essentially the land line has become mostly a catch-all for solicitors and collection agencies.

The collection agencies are not looking for anybody here, which is a good thing, but they are looking for the former owner of our phone number, and they are pretty persistent in trying to find her.  They call on a pretty regular basis.  To say this is a nuisance would be an understatement.   They have been looking for an old former girlfriend of the S.O. for years, who is one of those people who has changed her name multiple times and has a number of aliases.   But mostly, the person they are looking for is someone named Karen Lewis.  There happens to be 1,925 people named Karen Lewis listed in the White Pages, but that does not include the other throngs of Karen Lewises who are not listed.  There are probably thousands of them.  If any of you happen to be named Karen Lewis, please do not be offended. I am sure there are a number of lovely Karen Lewises out there.  But our delinquent Karen Lewis appears to have skipped out on a bunch of debts and is Wanted.  No matter how many times we tell these collectors that we have inherited this number and there is nobody named Karen Lewis here, they persist in calling.  We have considered requesting a new number, but at this point it would be more of a nuisance. And why should we have to?

And get this…….I had broken my glasses and stopped into the eye-glass place in the local mall that had previously made my lenses.  They asked me for my phone number so they could look me up in the computer….but my name didn’t come up.  Instead, it was this Karen Lewis, still attached to our phone number.  Either that, or she’s giving it out as if it’s still hers, which I think could actually be the case, because it was a recent transaction.  For some reason, the guy in the eye place had trouble having the computer connect my name to my phone number and removing hers.  The system was resisting it.  I found this whole thing rather disturbing.

Part of me feels sorry for her.  But the other part that has to deal with this is getting fed up. Really, who are these people? If you are the Karen Lewis responsible and you happen to have stumbled upon this blog and are reading this with your myopic, incredulous eyes, indignant at being outed, please deal with your stuff so we don’t have to? Really.

Now here comes the wildest part…….a few months ago, Ms. Lewis happened to call her old number!  Perhaps she was having some sort of memory lapse and dialed it, or maybe she was trying to find out who had the old number now?  Maybe she wanted to find out if anyone had been calling her?  “Hi, this is Karen Lewis….has anyone called for me?”  We will never know, because her name and number showed up on our caller ID but no message was left.  However, we now have her real phone number!  It has been tacked up to the bulletin board near the phone, and when the collectors call, we give it to them.  Since that time, the collection calls have slowed down considerably.

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This entry was posted in Are you kidding me?, Hearing Impaired, Uncategorized, Vent and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Who Are These People?

  1. karen says:

    funny story!

  2. annieb says:

    Many gazillion years ago we received a new phone number, which had, until recently, been somebody else’s old number. We were getting calls from people asking for Thelma (I can’t remember her last name – Lewis?????) all the time. One night LATE – like 11 p.m. an operator called – yes – once upon a time there were real live operators who helped you make calls when there was a problem – and she called back about three times. Each time I explained to her that we had recently gotten the number and to leave us alone.

    The next day I called the phone company. They said there would be a $45 fee for changing my number. I said, no, you are going to change it for free. I had to tell a few people, but I got the number changed.

    Fast forward to 2004. We bought a home here in Florida, and learned a few months later that our number had only recently belonged to Manatee Community College. Even 7 years later we are still getting the occasional call for the college, and very often we got debt collectors as well. Apparently there were a lot of deadbeats giving out the MCC phone number. Over the past 7 years I have periodically gone online and googled our number, and then emailed each website that had us listed for MCC and told them that the number was now mine, and the phone calls have finally nearly stopped. The worst offender was the school district – they kept publishing a college handbook for the guidance office that had our number listed. It took two years to get them to fix that. I think it helped that I put a paper with the phone number and personal extension for the Superintendent of Schools next to each phone, and patiently gave out that number to each caller, assuring them that somebody at that number would be able to help them.

    Oh, for the record, I don’t know anybody named Karen Lewis/

    • daeja's view says:

      When we are not getting collection calls for Ms. Karen Lewis or the ex-girlfriend of my S.O., who has legally changed her name three or four times into one pretentious form or another, we get messages left from a physician’s office reminding somebody named John about his appointments. This John actually gave them our phone number. I find this amazing.
      Who are these people?

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