I should have held out for a better one.
How could I have guessed that my lovely new phone number previously belonged to the local metaphysical society?? Worse yet, apparently this metaphysical society has closed, because I can't find a new number for them anywhere. I have called information, searched the yellow pages, and looked online. Every entry I have found for them lists my telephone number. I've looked pretty hard too, to see if I can find a new number for them...I have done everything short of driving by their listed address, and seeing if they're still there. Even so, I'm fairly sure they're closed now.
So for almost three years, I have been fielding calls for them. Not tons of them, but probably once or twice a week. I get the weirdest messages on my answering machine. Mostly, it's people looking for books, or selling books. But I've heard people asking about crystals, teas, herbs, all kinds of things. I've heard sad messages from people who say they are very sick, and are hoping for some kind of miracle cure. I even had one person say he thought he was psychic, and wanted to be tested.
(This last one really made me pause. I've always joked that psychics shouldn't have 900 numbers. I shouldn't have to call them. They should know when I need information, and they should call me collect to tell it to me. So when this guy's message said he was psychic...well let's just say I was really startled for a moment!!)
You'd think the problem would have gone away by now, but if anything it's gotten worse. I'd kept hoping over time it would gradually disappear, but now I've realized that it's here to stay. There are just too many web pages and lists and whatnot that have my number...and since the place has closed, there is no new number to change it to, and nobody to do the changing!
I'm always polite when somebody actually gets ahold of me, explaining that the place is closed, and this is now a private number. People are generally quite apologetic. But even though my answering machine message is clearly not for a business, I still get the messages. Usually they are tentative, "Yes, I was calling for the metaphysical society? I hope this is the right number..." but then they go on to tell me all about what they need, usually leaving their names and numbers, just in case I'll call them back and sell them crystal balls, eyes of newt, or whatever. I never call them back.
Finally last night, after listening to yet another message, I got sick of the whole thing, so I changed my answering machine message. Now it says, "I'm sorry, the metaphysical society has closed. This is now a private number. If you have a message for renniekins, you can leave it at the tone." I'm sure I'm now going to get all kinds of puzzled messages from people who actually are calling to talk to me, but at least hopefully I won't get as many metaphysical calls.