Thursday, January 19, 2006

Flirtation

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“You know, I have been at this number for 6 months and there is no XYZ heating here.”

“Did they move?”

“I don’t know. I guess so. Sorry.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry. They moved.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry. They moved.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry. They moved.”

“Do you know where?”

“I am afraid not. But maybe you can try 411. They may have the new number.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry, they moved. But I can give you their new number. I got it from the exchange.”

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry, they moved. But I can give you their new number. I got it from the exchange.”

I have been getting these calls asking for XYZ heating ever since I moved into this place. At first I was annoyed. Wish they’d stop calling me. Sometimes it was 2 am in the morning for Christ's sake. Then I realized the calls won’t stop anytime soon and if someone was calling at 2 in the morning it was probably because they had an emergency. So I called 411, got the new number and now when someone would call asking for XYZ heating I would give them the new number. By now I have the routine down pat, refined over time. And then this morning the routine changed again:

“Hello. XYZ heating?”

“No, sorry, they moved…”

“Shit!! Sorry.”

“That’s okay. I can give you their new number. I got it from the exchange.”

“Thanks. That’s nice of you.”

“No problem.”

“You are not a heating company by any chance are you?”

“Not yet.”

“Not yet?”

“I am thinking of starting one.”

“Really?”

“I am already providing customer service.”

He laughs. “May not be such a bad idea.”

“Not at all. This could be my destiny. Fate has been sending me all these phone calls at 2 am for a reason.”

Laughs again. “Are you available?”

“What, to fix your furnace?”

In the silence that follows I frantically search my brain. Could that be construed as a sexual come on? Could a furnace be euphemism for something else? There are so many oblique, arch references to male genitalia it’s hard to keep track sometimes. Maybe I should hang up. But then he has my number. He can call back. Crap, what if he’s a psycho? That’s when I hear the laughter. “No, I was asking if you are single.”

“Hang on. I’ll ask my boyfriend.”

“Bummer.” he says.

In the one and a half years I have had this number I have not called the heating company to tell them I am receiving their calls. Maybe I like these fragmented exchanges. Sometimes they last 10 seconds, sometimes longer. Sometimes I get a glimpse, a brief glimpse, into another life, another personality.

On my drive to work I start to think. I wonder who he was. A building super, a store manager? A young harried father indulging in some harmless phone flirtation? Or maybe a confirmed bachelor living in a swanky bachelor pad. I will never know.

Maybe it's better this way.

1 Comments:

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