“Holy shit,” I said to no one at all. “That really HURTS.”

I was referring to my back and my left hip (aka “the good one”). It was early. Although morning often is accompanied by stiffness and pain, I don’t normally wake up with quite such a jolt.

Rolling slowly out of bed, I tried to remember what I’d been dreaming about. Something about cats made of smoke and a clothesline that was part of a computer game. And a shrink who offered to scratch my back but couldn’t seem to find the right spot.


I took a couple of Excedrin and a muscle relaxant, rearranged the bed and tucked myself for a few more hours of sleep. Except, I was awake. So I went back to reading Martha Kennedy’s “The Brothers Path,” reconnecting with the Reformation and all it  implies in that faraway land of Switzerland. Eventually, sleep crept back, so I bookmarked my spot, and drifted off.

72-The Bros Path Cover PromoThe phone rang. Of course. I looked at the caller ID. It showed a local number. This in no way meant it was a local call. Scamming technology often shows local numbers on my Caller ID. Yesterday, it showed me Garry was calling. Since he was sitting next to me watching a ball game, I doubted it.

I answered the phone in what has become my typical surly morning greeting: “Who are you and what do you want?”

There was no response. A bit of crackle on the line, but no voice. Not even a recording. I hung up. More accurately, pressed “off.” I get a lot of these “nobody there” calls and I wonder what they are really trying to find out.

It was my second moment of realization for the morning. I no longer expect a ringing  phone to herald communication from a friend … or even a return call from someone with whom I do business. I actually expect all calls to be some kind of scam, survey, sales pitch … or a call trying to collect money from someone who hasn’t lived here in years. All of these are recorded messages, so I can’t even tell them to go away and leave me alone.


I have utterly abandoned good telephone manners. Telephones are longer a way to communicate, except when I’m the one making the call. Otherwise, it’s just annoying, intrusive, or (and) yet another attempt to steal personal information someone can use to hack my accounts, or steal my identity.

I can’t make them stop calling because they never call from the same number twice and the number that shows on the Caller ID is fake. There’s nothing to report.

It was the final morning realization — how misuse of technology steals pieces of our lives. It’s not that technology isn’t a good thing. Technology is neither good nor bad. It’s just a thing. It’s the stuff people do with it that’s wicked. It may seem a minor detail in view of the many awful things going on in the world, but I can remember waiting with pleasant anticipation for the phone to ring.

That little pleasure is gone, a poignant reminder how life has changed, but not for the better.



  1. I have to agree with you, as I too receive many of the same annoying calls. If only there were someone to actually shout at, and release that pent up frustration. You feel so vulnerable and invaded somehow, even though there’s no one there to speak with. Argh!


      1. Without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I’ve heard of too many cases where someone was literally casing the “joint”. Wished there was a way to block them, but without an actual number, it’s not possible.


  2. Since Mr. Swiss and I cancelled our landline and only have mobiles things have improved. We hardly ever get any of those fake calls now and no-one calls me in any case. I am only there for my appointments, photo uploads and reminders to do something which I usually might forget. I switch the phone off in the evening when I go to bed and only switch it on in when I am awake again. Since my dad passed away I no longer have to sit on needles waiting for a message in the middle of the night. The only people that seem to call are for Mr, Swiss, usually musician friends wanting to organise a get together for a rehearsal. Oh, the life of a golden oldie. It might be because we are in the wilds of Europe that we are not so affected.


    1. I thought about canceling my landline, but being an old engineer I realized that if you still keep an old style “dark ages” analog phone around, which I do, you’ll be surprised that it will work on modern phone lines W/O having to power them. The phone companies always supplied operating voltage along the com lines. The old guys really did think of everything. So, if by chance you lose AC power in your home, chances are the phone lines are still good.., but you have to have an old style phone around to take advantage, and possibly one on the receiving end if their AC is also down. I keep my mom’s Princess dial phone around for just such an eventuality, or emergency. It’s hooked up and still working as we speak.


      1. We have an old dial wall phone in the kitchen, but that outlet doesn’t seem to work anymore. In a pinch, I could take it down and move it to the line in the bedroom or one of the offices. It is a good reminder to find an old phone and have it in the closet. JUST in case. Great idea!! You should write this up. I’ll publish it. People don’t know this would work.


        1. If the outlet won’t work with any phone you need to have it looked at. Just to make sure it’s not the phone itself, try it in another outlet. it’s good to know you have an alternate in a pinch. So don’t put it off until you have an emergency…


          1. I’m sure I can find an old analog phone in the Salvation Army store for a couple of dollars. The phone in the kitchen used to work. It just stopped one day. I’ll have to see if it’s the phone or the outlet. Thanks for the heads up!


  3. For the longest time, I received a call on my work cell phone from some crazy area code that I never could figure out. After a couple of times, I just kept hitting ‘ignore’ until they stopped calling. Only to be replaced by yet another strange area code. Who are these silent nobodies??


    1. Oh, I feel better today. Arthritis tends to stiffen when you don’t move much, so the worst moments of my day are almost always first thing in the morning. After I get moving, it’s better. Not gone, but better. Also, when I’m doing other stuff, I don’t notice it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. isn’t funny how the phone ringing is no longer a good thing. We are the same here everyone I know communicates, in person, via email or social media. The only person who ever calls is one sister in law. We have a do not call register here in Australia which has cut down a lot of these annoying scam calls, but some still get through. So our phone does not ring often, but when it does it’s almost always someone other than my sister in law. Of the calls we do get, we get an awful lot of those no one there calls too, it’s kind of creepy. PS I have the same headphones 🙂


    1. Great headphones! Garry loves them. He can actually hear what they are saying — something he could never do before I got him the headphones He has them for the bedroom TV too.

      We have a “do not cal”l registry, but these people, whoever they are, have found ways around it. And because the calls are all robotic and the phone numbers change, there’s no one to report. It’s just so ANNOYING.


  5. They’re telemarketing calls, I think – the automatic dialler just keeps on keeping on to keep the pool full, and if you answer, it tries to route the call to an agent, but if no agents are available, you get the silence. Like Julz, I’m on the Do Not Call register which has helped a lot. But also, my friends and family still use the phone – obviously an old-fashioned lot – so I can still answer it with some anticipation of pleasure!


    1. Well, okay. That’s makes weird sense. Probably explains all those silent calls. My real friends and family also use the phone and they come up as themselves on caller ID. But they are only a few of many many many calls.


    1. You know, I wouldn’t mind so much if they were collecting from ME but they are trying to collect from someone who really doesn’t live here and hasn’t lived here in YEARS. But there’s no one on the line to tell. That same number calls me five to ten time EVERY DAY. I recognize the phone number, I’ve seen it so often.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s also, we have to remember, election time. We get five to ten calls a day right now. Many of them are recordings that have already started before the phone is even answered. many are now by people who sound like Peeder Zellers in the Pink panther. How they got them hooked into US elections I have no idea.
    When someone asks for me by name I always ask, who’s calling. The minute the word ‘survey’ comes up I quietly put the phone back on the hook. Or tell them there’s no one here by that name. by the time they work that out, ive already hung up.


    1. Basically, that’s what I do. I have noticed that real companies show up on caller ID as themselves. The ones that sow up as a weird code number or some strange area code I’ve never seen before … and I don’t do surveys. If they want to do research, they can pay me. I just click the off button and in any case, 95% of all the calls are automated, so I’m not going to be insulting anyone. I just wish they would stop CALLING me.


  7. Sign up for “”. It really works! When it’s a scam or telemarketer your phone only rings once and then it automatically disconnects. We’ve had it for over a year and are no longer bothered by these calls. As far as I know we’ve never missed a personal call.


    1. I signed up. Unfortunately, Charter is in the middle of “upgrading” our telephone service and there’s a notice that any changes we make to settings won’t hold until they are done doing whatever they are doing. So I’ll set it up again as soon as Charter finishes whatever they are doing. I just hope they tell me when they’re done. At least they warned us this time when they started (and then our phone and wifi went out for 14 hours).

      I remember trying this before, but Charter was not one of the companies Nomorobo supported. Now, they do support Charter, but Charter is (typically for Charter) messed up. But as soon as they un-mess up …

      THANK YOU!


  8. I’ve apparently called myself before several times…. it’s always fun to see my own name and number come up on the Caller ID. And since even I don’t think I’m important enough to talk to, I just let myself go to my voice mail… where my doppelganger, just like me, never leaves a message…


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