There is in Melbourne a little old Eastern European1 lady, who has the wrong number. Namely, my direct line at the dayjob.
She doesn't call often, all told. Somehow, she knows exactly when I'm not at my desk, be it through illness or holiday or simply the fact that it's 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. That's when she calls. And listens to my voicemail announcement stating my name and place of employment. And finally leaves me a long and rambling voice message in her mother tongue. She's not disgruntled, and though to my ear her language sounds a little growly I suspect she's just chatting. Leaving a message for a family member.
Does she not wonder why her family member's home phone number has such a strange, business-centric answering machine? Is her only contact with this family member through my phone — does she never meet her in person, even once a year, and in the inevitable confusion discover that her messages were never received? One message, which I discovered on my return from Mongolia, was at least five minutes long, full of lilting incomprehensibilities.
I wonder what she's telling me in those messages. That I never return her calls? Not to eat the boiled sheep's head? To get back to work already, lazy sod?
- I'm guessing [↩]