"No, you have the wrong number."
"He gave me this number..."
"No, no one here by that name."
I am thinking what was the grandson's name...what was her name...
The phone rang again.I was probably juggling my kids and their friends, and/or the dog was barking, and I rush to call Isabel inside as our crazy back neighbor has complained, and threatened, and been a general asshole about it.Not one to back down from a confrontation, I had gotten in his face about it, but quickly realized I was dealing with the Mayor of Dangerous Crazytown, and now I fear for the life of my sweet dog, Isabel, who probably is trying to warn us that the mayor lives behind us.
My daughter has answered the phone and hung up.
"Who was that?"
It is coming back to me now.His name was...
"Is this Richard's house?"
"No, you have the wrong number."
"When will he be home?"
I am getting irritated now. There is quarreling in the other room.
A little stronger now."You have the wrong number!"
"Well, tell him his Grandma Laura called."
There is a crash.
I hang up.
A few days later, again.
I was relatively nice, for me.We compare phone numbers.
464-7950. "Yes, that is the number you have reached, but there is no one by that name here."
"Richard(fill in the blank name)?"
"No, Richard doesn't live here!"
I still don't remember what the last name was.We have the same conversation a few more times on a few more days.She calls in the evening. There are phone messages on the answering machine. "Richard, this is your Grandma Laura."and then there is some family news that she imparts.We talk about it at dinner, and play it for my husband.
The kids get her again too. Ring...my daughter sets the phone down..."Maaawm...It's Grandma Laura!''
I believe I start out with civility, but now it is funny, and I laugh. She is further confused and says that this is the number he gave her, yada yada...
She is Relentless, that Grandma Laura.
Probably, I was a little shitty at some point.(safe bet) I remember this in snippets.Now, I know she is old and confused and I have been mostly patient, but she is so sure that Richard gave her 464-7950.It doesn't seem to sink in that she has to be wrong,even though I spelled it out to her and even though Richard is probably gay and doesn't have a wife and children.And if he did, she would be a very nice girl, not like me, who is a little flawed.
Finally, I have the time and presence of mind to ask his last name and what city he lives in and I look it up in the phone book...(how archaic-, a landline,an answering machine, a phone book)
Ok, mystery solved. Richard's number is 464-7590(truth is it was one number off, but for the sake of the story, 7590).I get his answering machine, and mind you, this is after several of Grandma Laura's messages on our machine.
"Lookit Richard, you don't know me but, for the love of gawd, would you call Grandma Laura??She is driving us fucking crazy!"
My memory is spotty these days.Even though I have a calendar on my cell phone that gives me alerts the night before, and still forget shit. Sometimes, I am driving, and I forget where I am going. Seriously. Sometimes my car exits on Park Avenue, even though I no longer live in that home I lived in for 23 years with the batshit crazy neighbor who Capitola PD has on file, a rambling letter he wrote, threatening to shoot our dogs. Ah, the good ole days...
I forget to get another quote on car insurance and, dang, I gotta do that tomorrow.I forget where I put my glasses. I leave my credit card in the chip machine, even though it is beeping at me.And, I know!
I know why I remembered this distant and fond memory of Grandma Laura! Cuz I was driving somewhere and forgot where I was going, and I think I am getting senile, and, ya know, I don't have any grandchildren yet but when I do, I don't want them to call me Grandma. That is for old people. I have, going on 4 now, grand nieces and nephews...and I want them, and my future grandchildren,Knock on wood and spit, puhooey! I want them to call me Yetta, like on the sitcom, The Nanny.
Which reminds me of a story my friend Eric told me about his Mom, who made him drive to the Goyum neighborhood so she could superstitiously spit on their lawn for some reason...that was a funny story, I wish I could remember that...