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Friday, November 23, 2012

The Woman Screamed Hello

I have been on the receiving end, if you’ll excuse the expression, of a rash of butt-dialings.

You are aware of the term “butt-dialing”, yes? That accidental phone call one gets when someone inadvertently dials your number, usually by way of sitting on their phone?

Incredible design flaw.

I remember my first butt-dial like it was yesterday.

My phone rang. Not my cell phone, which was a device I had initially dismissed as a passing fad, but what we now refer to as the “land line”.


A man was already talking. “… so pretty and all. Why don’t you reach back there, grab another one.”

There was the sound of movement, of a canned beverage being opened, followed by the sound of a woman’s drunken giggling.

I shouted into the phone: “Hello! Hello!”

“God but you look good. Come over here…”

It took a good 15 minutes of hard listening and intermittent screamings of “hello! hello!” before three things happened.

One: I recognized the voice of Duwayne. Duwayne, ex-childhood-trailer-park-neighbor, the man missing his front teeth, the guy who sometimes slept on friends’ couches, sometimes in his car. Why he had my number, I will never know as I’d not seen him since I was 16.

Two: I came to understand that Duwayne and “Pookie” were sitting at a lake in his car, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and enjoying the honeymoon period of a blossoming and alcohol-fueled relationship. Various items of clothing had been removed. Pookie was, as Duwayne put it, “stacked”.

Three: I hung up.

Funny thing about the land line, though. It wouldn’t hang up. Fifteen minutes later, when I needed to make a call, there was Duwayne and his paramour. From the sounds of it, he was doing a series of quick, heavy-lifting maneuvers.

That’s what I told myself, anyway.

I hung up again.

And for the rest of the night until I finally got in my car to go to visit the person I wanted to call, I picked up my phone to the sound of grunting, cans opening, and laughter.

I did not receive another butt-dialing for 10 years. And then…

My phone rang at work.

“Acme Napkins and Grommets. Pearl speaking.”

Nothing but the sound of country-western music playing. And then a woman’s voice: “Should we hit a drive-through? I’m hungry.”

I knew immediately. It was happening again.

A different woman’s voice: “Oh, I don’t know. What’re you thinking?”

And so I listened, for almost 5 minutes, interjecting a “hello! hello!” here and there, just to give them a fighting chance at not being caught saying anything they would regret later.

And unfortunately, they didn’t. For the most part, eavesdropping is quite dull; and so while I did some data entry and they discussed the merits of Burger King versus McDonald’s and sang along with songs I’d never heard before, it was re-affirmed for me how monotonous much of life can be.

I hung up.

The last event occurred just a couple weeks ago.


This time it was my 25-year-old son and a group of his friends, heading north for the weekend.

“Hello! Hello!”

It was clear, from the shouting and laughter in his vehicle, that it had happened again.

And this time, I hung up immediately.

Because if there’s one thing that being butt-dialed has taught me, it's that, for the most part, if we’re not part of the conversation, we’re better off not knowing what was said.


Shelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shelly said...

Somehow, I wrote my comment without seeing the part about Duwayne and Pookie. That, I think, epitomizes why cell phones should have an automatic kill sensor to turn themselves off at appropriate (or inappropriate) times.

George Turnbull said...

My butt is always calling folks the rest of me doesn't know.

Sioux said...

ESPECIALLY if it's your son that you're "eavesdropping" on. There are lots of things you don't want to overhear when it comes to your son.

fmcgmccllc said...

The alternate of butt dialing is my favorite, butt fingered hang ups. Thinking "they" hung up they continue ripping apart the conversation. Only works with 2 or more people on the other end.

vanilla said...

Peoples has you in their address books!

TexWisGirl said...

amen to that!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

especially if the someone is a group of young guys one of whom is your son. You DON'T want to know.

Buttons said...

Butt dialing and NOT knowing what was said is a good defense when it may or may not end up going to court You do not want to be the butt witness:) B

Mitchell is Moving said...

I have a friend who used to constantly (several times a week) butt-dial me while she was working out at the gym. (Why she couldn't live without her cell phone for that hour and leave it in her locker, I'll never understand.) But, I also regularly heard heavy panting. Maybe Duwayne and Pookie were on a treadmill.

I solved the butt-dialing problem with that particular friend by moving out of the country.

jenny_o said...

Amen to that, sister :)

Joanne Noragon said...

Someone will notice that one hour call. "OMG. I butt dialed my (your) mom. OMG."

Serves them right.

Leauxra said...

Since I got my fancy new (but still not smart) phone, I have become a serial pocket-texter. Something about hitting the button in the middle multiple times apparently sends out text messages of random characters to random people in my contact list.

I guess it could be worse. I don't think I will incriminate myself with anything as awful as drinking PBR.

Kana said...

Have you ever experienced that even more ridiculous design flaw that is the buttdial voicemail? 4 English words never inended to be put into that configuration.

You seem to be better about answering your phone than I am - my favorite buttdial actually went to voicemail because I didn't pick up, an unparalleled opportunity to preserve forever a drama that had taken place thousands of miles and several hours earlier.

My mother and a friend were driving to Maalaea. They saw something they needed to take a picture of. They got out of the car, shut the doors.

I imagine they took the picture.

They also locked the keys in the car.

They were now stranded in the Mud Flats between Kihei and Maalaea. They tried the handles. They talked about what had happened, in that distinctively muffled way of pople being heard through car window glass. I heard it all, the technological fly-on-the-wall, from inside the car.

It was still going at the 24-minute-mark when I got tired of being the only one "inside" the car, disconnected and called her up to see how it had turned out. Sometimes it's nice to just skip to the end. I also asked to see the picture, and asked if it was worth it. She said yes.

Eva Gallant said...

The most annoying thing is when that butt dial occurs around 3:00 a.m.!

NotesFromAbroad said...

I have lived such a sheltered life .. or something. I have never gotten a butt dialed phone call :(

bill lisleman said...

That first one to your landline adds a whole new meaning to "butt" call. Is that a cell phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
thanks for the laugh

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

What I don't understand is how I got butt-dialed just the other day by somebody I don't know. They texted me the next day to say, "Looks like I butt-dialed you last night. Sorry, dude."

Gigi said...

The only one who seems to butt dial me is my son....I hang up quickly, because as you said, I'm better off not knowing.

But the more annoying thing is this - I've had this cell number for more than ten years and in that time, I get, at least three times a month, a phone call for Ronnie. I am not Ronnie.

Ms Sparrow said...

I have never been butt-dialed. I figure that is a good thing, but it sure is a good blog topic!

Geo. said...

Dinosaurs used to have 2 brains, a head brain and a butt brain. The butt brain is mainly vestigial now but still, given the opportunity, will wake from its ancient sleep and get on the phone.

esbboston said...

Oh, strange, the imagery of your muffled voice which I have neVer heard coming out of the backside pocket of Duwayne.

klahanie said...

Ah Pearl, some phone calls can be a real bummer. This comment has reached the bottom and my phone is ringing!

Have a good weekend, eh!


sage said...

You're butt dials are more interesting than mine. My blackberry always called the same guy, a friend of my from my Utah days--I kept up with him via butt dials and have only spoken to him once in the past 18 months (at which time I'd changed my blackberry for a so called smart phone) Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

River said...

I've never been buttdialed, people out here don't seem to sit on their phones. They're always in their hands. I have a flip phone myself and always close it when not using it, so butt dialling would never happen. I don't sit on it even accidentally.

Red said...

I have not had a butt call. Now I know what I'm missing???

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Three of these calls - in one lifetime ????

What are the odds? And I do mean ODD !! :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Hours and hours of being connected to Duwayne...now that's funny. He won;t let go.

chlost said...

At least DuWayne must have still had his pants on when he butt dialed you. You wouldn't want the mental picture of anything else.

Roshni AaMom said...

'DuWayne', huh!?! Real fancy!!