Hello, I’m Not Your Grandma

Maybe if I had more pockets, I’d do better about keeping track of my cellphone. More often than not, it’s in the bottom of my handbag amongst sticks of sugar-free peppermint gum and wrinkled old sales receipts.  It’s generally off or muted.  That means that I’m a bit hard to reach.

Actually, my most frequent callers are people  I don’t even know.  They leave messages, sometimes several a day, and I have not a clue as to the identity of the caller or the callee.  Since the message on my voicemail greeting is my own,  you’d think they might realize that the grandma they call is not the grandma they know.  Alas, no..

The Missed Call list shows that it’s a Wadesboro, NC,  phone number.  I’ve had messages from various members of the family,  phoning to leave a long message for “Grandma.”  Whoever the caller is, she’ll leave a message, then shout, “Does anybody else want to talk to Grandma?”  A child will then add her own message, chattering away as if she doesn’t expect a response.

I  had this problem years ago when I bought my first cellphone  in North Carolina.  The cellphone company claimed they retired numbers for a year before reassigning them.  Hogwash.  That number was so fresh that even the guy’s own mother didn’t know he’d changed it.  She was leaving messages along with dozens of other callers, most related to the guy’s work.  He was in the entertainment business, so the messages involved  changing bookings,  giving him party dates, etc.  I felt too guilty to ignore them, so I’d call his mother and leave the messages with her, figuring she’d track him down if they were important.

After a couple of weeks of that, I called the phone company and requested a different number.  They gave me the one I’m still using, which has worked fine until the Wadesboro family began calling.

One day, after turning on my phone and finding four long messages from them, including one from the woman telling Grandma that she didn’t know whether Jerome was going to try to make it to Charlotte because of the bad weather.  I called the Wadesboro number and left them a message,  saying that Granny wasn’t getting any of their messages and she’d probably appreciate knowing that Jerome wasn’t coming before she started fixing dinner for him.

And yet, the messages continued.  Sometimes I found my phone in time to answer and each time I’d say they had dialed the wrong number.

They continued to phone.

Once I called them and reached a member of the family, the mother I think.  I told her that I knew that Granny’s number must be very close to mine because I was receiving her messages.  She  laughed and said, “Yes, very close!”   I replied that they were leaving very nice messages and that I felt sure that Grandma would have enjoyed hearing them.

Didn’t help. The messages still piled up.

One night last week, after watching a late movie in bed, I turned off the light and settled under the covers.  I was nearly asleep when I realized that I’d left my phone on.  Since I hate the little beeps that sound to let me know of messages, I fumbled around in the dark to locate my phone and switch it to Off.  Somehow, I hit Redial and a voice answered with a sleepy, “Hello.”

It was a little after 1 AM.

I quickly turned on the bedside light and saw, to my horror,  that I’d redialed the last call received, which happened to be the people in Wadesboro.  I apologized, saying that I had hit Redial and called them by accident.

Would you believe that I haven’t had a single call from them since?   I don’t know the reason.  Perhaps Granny has gone to that great phone booth in the sky, or perhaps they decided that it would behoove them to dial more carefully in order to prevent any further late-night calls.

I’m knocking on wood, however.  I realize that the calls could resume at any time.

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have granny’s number.  I’d be inclined to call to make sure she’s okay.  She might want to talk awhile and complain about her children never calling.


Some one invented the telephone,
And interrupted a nation’s slumbers,
Ringing wrong but similar numbers.
~Ogden Nash, Look What You Did, Christopher

Anytime I see someone blocking the aisle in the supermarket while talking on a phone, I want to ram that person with my shopping cart. ~Richard Turner


12 thoughts on “Hello, I’m Not Your Grandma

  1. Carol Too

    I don’t often get wrong numbers on my cell phone. My daughter and I both have W. NC area codes, but I live half the year in Florida and she lives in”The City” aka NYC. She keeps the number to remind her of her favorite place. SHE gets wrong number texts, usually asking about the availability of pot and other drugs. She wonders if she should forward to the local police. I have no answer to that.
    Last Friday I got a call about 8 am from same N.C. Area code as mine. “Hello?”
    Hello ”
    “uh, who were you calling?”
    “My daughter” the older male voice said, “What day is it?”
    ” I think you misdialed ”
    “OK, . . .what day is it?”
    “Friday”. I answered (obviously an old retired guy, ask me how I know). He hung up.
    I think this is what telephone operators used to do– keep the oldsters oriented to time if not place.

    1. Funny! Well, not the pot calls part. If they share your area code, that means YOU’RE the one among druggies. Probably not the old guy. I guess we’re all among druggies though.

      I’ll bite. How did you know?

  2. I used to get calls for Brenda. Apparently I sound very much like Brenda, because everytime I said hello, they would start talking like I was Brenda.

    1. Brenda Lee Johnston, maybe? 🙂

      When we first moved to Wisconsin, some guy would call and talk to me like I was someone he’d had a “thing” that he was trying to restart. My Southern accent should have been a clue for Mr. Clueless. If one of my kids answered, he’d ask to “speak to your mother.” The asshat had been messing around with a married woman. I’ll bet the woman changed her number to get away.

  3. Not long after my mother moved to Texas she started to get calls from men asking for “Juanita.” She was sure Juanita was a lady of the evening. Kind of spiced up her life there for a while. My mother’s. Not Juanita’s. Hers was spicy enough.

    I’ve heard of “drunk dialing” and “butt dialing,” but you’ve just invented “dark dialing.”

  4. Arkansas Patti

    I may file that late night return call away in case I run into a similar problem. For most of the post I was feeling sorry for the neglected real grandma who was wondering how much money she had to send at Christmas to earn a call from those ungrateful grands.

  5. ncmountainwoman

    Maybe it’s not so bad that we live in the small dot that cannot receive cell service. But our home number is one digit from Walgreen’s. We get a lot of calls.

  6. Some people are reeeeeally slow on the uptake, aren’t they? I’m glad your 1 am wake-up call did the trick!! When we lived in B.C. we had a phone number that was one digit different from a local medical clinic. I was always getting these long-winded, very revealing messages on the answering machine. I mean seriously, don’t be leaving detailed medical info on an answering machine unless you’re sure you’ve got the right number (and the fact that the recording said “You’re reached Natalie and Gordon” might have been the first clue that they didn’t have the right number!) 🙂

  7. when I got my cell number, the woman who had it before me had number of debts, a couple of prescriptions and an outstanding warrant on her.. to say my life got interesting there for a bit is a bit of an understatement..

  8. I hope the grandma is ok–lol–and yes, I bet that late night call made that family more careful when they dialed! Our new phone number in Colorado was once the number of an environmental business. I get monthly auto calls from Google asking if I want to update my listing, and many annoying robo calls asking if I want business loans and other services.Very annoying! I don’t answer the phone any longer unless I recognize the phone number that is calling me.

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