I hit a home run the other day, but not on a baseball diamond.
Long story made short: There is a woman whom I believe lives in a nearby city. She shares my last name, not my first, just the last, which is a fairly common one. This woman must be a piece of work because this week, because three times in the last five or so years, I’ve been contacted by collection agencies looking for her.
They have called Darling Daughter at college, which really made my blood boil.
They have contacted our former tenant who lived upstairs from us.
And they have called me. Multiple times.
The first time the issue came to light, they contacted my boss at work, which is illegal. I happened to answer the phone and attempted to set them straight.
After that first spate of incidents (contacting me at work and DD at school), I managed to trace them to an address and wrote a letter threatening legal action. The phone calls stopped.
The second time, I told them I’d been through this before, and would take legal action if they called again. The didn’t.
Like any sane person, I don’t answer my phone unless I recognize the number. But last week I got a voice mail concerning this woman, saying she was going to be investigated, and they would be coming to all “known addresses” for her, including mine.
Can I say again I have never met the woman and have no idea how my name got mixed up with hers?
So, I called and left a message to that effect. “This is not her phone number. This is not her address. I don’t know her.”
A few days later, they called again. Same message, with the addition that the “investigators” would be visiting this person’s place for work.
Given the fact that said woman is regularly in trouble with the law, I don’t think she has a place of work.
But I do, and it would be pretty easy to find out where it was, I’d think.
So, I called back. Although I was polite, it was clear from my voice that I was annoyed.
The man on the phone’s immediate response?
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, sweetheart.”
Sweetheart? (Strike one.)
Steam coming from my ears, I tersely responded, “Don’t call me sweetheart.”
I think he said something like, “Calm down, Ma’am.”
I tried to explain the situation, that I was very angry for being harassed about a woman I never met.
He told me to “Watch my tone.” (Strike two.)
Sorry? Watch my tone? I’m the one whose house and place of work is being threatened!
This man, who never gave his name, said my phone was linked to ________ (The Engineer’s name).
I said, “That’s my husband.”
He said something about my husband being related to this woman and demanded I give the phone The Engineer.
Of course, I refused. The Engineer’s family all live in England, and besides, why did this man think he had the right to demand I do anything?
Even writing about it makes my heart beat faster in anger.
This man continued to insist we were somehow related to this woman, that I didn’t know everyone my husband knows (likely true, but I do know his family), and that we are listed as “known associates” of the woman.
I said something like, “Well, we aren’t, and I don’t want you calling me again.”
That’s when he said, “I don’t intend to call you because you seem like a very “nasty woman.”
Home run! Three sexist, condescending remarks from a complete stranger in almost as many sentences.
When I hung up, he was threatening these “investigators” would be coming to our house, and said I’d better “have my ID ready,” and telling me to “let my relatives know” they were looking for this person.
I was shaking when I put down the phone.
After I calmed down a little, I called the police to at least get this experience on record.
The officer was great. Took all the information, reassured me they weren’t coming to my house, and even called this man back.
She said if I told him I wasn’t related to this person, they had to note that on my file and not call again. And when she called him, he said he’d already done so.
I bet he was a lot nicer to her than he was to me.
Later, I realized, of course they can’t come to our house unless they are accompanied by an officer of the law, which would mean they’d have to have a warrant.
Otherwise, it would be trespassing.
Still, it was a very unpleasant experience all around, not least the fact that a complete stranger felt he had the right to threaten, use an endearment, tone police, and insult me because he didn’t get what he wanted.
In this situation, I’ll take that as a compliment.