Last year around this time, we got together with several couples, and because it was so much fun, decided to make it an annual gathering. Since I absolutely, positively
would rather slide down a razor-studded banister into a vat of isopropyl alcohol don’t enjoy talking on the telephone, I put off calls til the last minute.
When we have friends for dinner, it’s not uncommon for us to sit around our dining room table for H O U R S, indulging our appetite for good conversation and laughter long after stomachs are satisfied. I think we must’ve known when we selected the particular dining room suit we chose–large and more important, comfortable chairs–it’d be a place we wanted to spend some time. It’s not that we plan to spend all night at the table, but once we get started, there never seems to be much reason to go anywhere else. Lingering over dessert and coffee (of course for me it’s dessert, no coffee), our table is sacred.
In this instance, and with Tad growing increasingly "encouraging" about me making those calls, I finally began telephoning the four couples a few days before the evening we had planned. It was after Christmas, children are home, there’s lots of visiting and running errands, so I don’t think I got anyone in person, messages were left for everyone (which suited me just fine, even if they were screening me 🙂 ). In keeping with my disdain for the telephone, I made the calls while I was on the road running around myself (headset on, hands free, for any cellphone purists who want to cast a stone); drive time is my preferred time for making calls.
Something worthy of mention and relevant to this story is the fact my cell phonebook is enormous (especially considering it’s a personal phone, not business). EVERY call I make, EVERY call I receive, I intentionally save in the event I might need that number in the future (and I will always know who’s calling, if they’ve ever called before on that line). A friend of ours who IS in sales suggested doing this, and I have to say, I’ve thought of him often and appreciatively when I needed a number, and lo and behold, I actually have it.
Not long after I got home, as I vividly recall, I was putting clean sheets on Thomas’ bed. My cell phone vibed in my pocket (which I never, NEVER get used to), and as I jumped then looked at caller ID before answering, I didn’t recognize the number. Often I screen numbers I don’t know, this time I didn’t. The conversation went like this:
Caller: Hey Robin, this is ______. I got your message inviting us to dinner……
And there is where my heart skipped three beats. I have two people in my phone book listed the SAME freakin’ way, and I had left a message AT THE WRONG FRIEND’S NUMBER!!! Someone I haven’t seen or talked to in m o n t h s! I didn’t have to say a word as she continued….
Caller: That was so sweet of y’all, but we won’t be able to make it..…
And rather than pulling one of my honesty-police-tell-alls, I made the split-second decision to carry this information to the grave. Well, except for telling the entire blogosphere (or potentially the entire blogosphere if it read my little spec of the planet).
As I carried on a "normal" conversation, catching up on the past several months, my brain was racing a thousand mph, wondering WHAT IN THE HECK SHE THOUGHT OF THE INVITATION! Did it ever cross her mind I called her by accident? Was it a "stroke" she needed because maybe they had been feeling lonely over the holidays? Was it an impetus for us to reconnect?
The only way this isn’t as bad as asking a lady if she’s pregnant when she isn’t, is the hope she thought the invite was legit.
As I hung up, I called the other friend who shares her name. She ANSWERED the phone.
Me: Hey…is this you or your answering machine?
Caller (obvious confusion in her voice): Ummm, it’s me….
Me: Can you spell your last name for me?
Caller (still confused, but obedient): …what’s up?
Me: Well, ya know that message I left you a few hours ago inviting y’all to dinner….?
Caller: I didn’t get a message, weird, because I’ve been here all afternoon….
Me: THAT’S BECAUSE I LEFT YOUR STINKIN’ MESSAGE ON SOMEONE ELSE’S ANSWERING MACHINE!
Needless to say, she laughed AT me, not WITH me; at least she pretended to feel my pain.
You don’t have to guess what I did as soon as we hung up…a little housecleaning of my address book. It can cause problems when it’s too cluttered, kind of like my house.
What about y’all, what’s the biggest faux pas you’ve done that makes you wanna be Superman, flying backwards around the world to reverse time? I’d love to hear your "one-ups" on my story! 🙂