My friend Angela called me again today. She’s called every day for the past six or seven months, sometimes twice a day. She rarely leaves a message. I use the word ‘friend’ loosely, since I don’t know Angela’s last name or even what she looks like. I do know where she works though. Angela is a collections agent with Capital One.
Now you all know Capital One.The company that gives credit cards to people who can’t get credit cards because their credit sucks? Their catchphrase is “What’s in your wallet?” (what’s in my wallet? NOTHING! that’s why i need your credit card!)…anyhoo, you’d think they’d know how unlikely it is that the kind of person who actually need a Capital One card would ever have enough money to pay them back, but Angela believes in me.
You would also think that a 21st century financial company would have the technological savvy to understand cell phones and caller ID. Considering the number of companies to whom I owe money, I tend to not answer calls if the number starts with 800 or 888. See, none of my friends have toll-free numbers. But here’s Cap One, thinking ‘Maybe this time he’ll pick up. He’s probably just busy figuring out how to pay us back.’ I can picture the supervisor saying”Angela–try him again–he’s gonna be home eventually.” As if after five hundred calls, I’m gonna pick up the phone and say “Ok, how much do I owe you Got it. I’ll send it out today.” I really should answer it one of these days, just for fun.
“Hello? Oh–hey Angie. Yeah, I guess you’ve been trying to get a hold of me for a while now. Sorry, I’ve just been really swamped. No, no it’s not you. It’s me. I just feel like you’re pressuring me. ? Ang, if this is about the money, I gotta tell ya–I just don’t have it. I know, I know. I let you down. Anyway, look–I gotta run. But call me anytime. Yeah, you can call me tomorrow. I may not be able to pick up, but just leave a message”
But my dear Angela never leaves a message. She has her friends do that. I particularly like the British chick that calls to say she’s from ‘Alliance Solutions’ (a collection agency) and would “really appreciate’ a call back. She always sounds upbeat in that kicky, Euro way, sorta like Emma Peel from the Avengers. And who wouldn’t want to call her back? I mean, she’s offering solutions. And she’s from…an alliance.
Actually last week, I accidentally answered. I didn’t have my glasses on, thought the ten digit number was a friend in Seattle calling, and I answered. It was my girl Angela. She didn’t sound very happy with me. She finally gets the chance to talk to me, and she takes this tone with me. All scolding, and judgemental. The conversation taught me one lesson: I would be a crappy spy, as I tried to pretend that I was my own roommate.
“Is this Michael?” “Uh, who’s calling for him?” “This is Angela.” “Uh, this is his roommate–let me see if he’s here…–no, sorry, he’s out.” “Do you know when he’ll be back?” At this point, Angie’s already on to me, but plays along like an expert criminal profiler. “No, sorry, he’s not very good at communicating (what?)–can I give him a message?” “It’s a personal matter.” Now for some reason, i continue the charade. “Well can I tell him what it’s about?” At this point, she’s done playing games. “Why would I tell you if you’re just his roommate? And I think I’m actually talking to Michael Dane.” I had no idea what to do. Hands sweating. Head spinning. Then, my masterful comeback. “No, this is…his roommate.” Her response? “Are you sure you’re not Michael Dane?” Atthis point I’m not sure of anything. Realizing she’s seen through my clever subterfuge, I decide there’s only one thing I can do. I hang up. She hasn’t called me in over a week, and I miss her.