Although I've tried to convey a portrait of myself as a sweet, kind middle-aged spendthrift trying hard to reform, there's another darker side to Grace.
It all started with my second daughter.
As I explained in an earlier post, I have a 31 year old emotionally disturbed child. She has never been employed for longer than two weeks, and receives SSI. She does live on her own and has since she turned 18.
Now why any creditor in his or her right mind would give this child a credit card boggles the mind. But they have. Over and over.
Credit card companies send solicitations. My daughter responds. Voila! She has a card which she then uses to the max. What she doesn't do is pay the bills. Ever.
Because she moves a lot and switches phone numbers a lot, she has a tendency to give my telephone number as her contact number. The end result is a number of telephone calls to my landline from various debt collectors.
In the beginning, it was annoying. Debt collectors start calling right after 8:00 a.m. and call into the evening. They are particularly fond of the dinner hours.
But then my youngest daughter started having some fun with it, and dang, if I didn't join her.
At first, if the collector asked for my errant adult daughter, we'd say "Just a moment," put the phone down and walk away.
Then, my youngest child got good at a plausible but totally made up foreign language where she appeared to be giving the caller another number to reach their quarry. "Vey, Vey, Vey,..." "Is that three, three, three?" "Nikto! Vey, Vey, Vey. . ." "Um, do you mean two, two, two?" "Nikto! Vey, Vey, Vey. . ."
My specialty is the phony mechanical voice. A large number of calls begin with a pre-recorded message: "Please stay on the line for an important call." So I wait, and when a human being finally picks up, I say, in my best disembodied voice: "Please stay on the line for an important call." I repeat this a couple of times, and then start singing "Memories." Badly.
That led one collector to start laughing. Since then, our goal has been to make all the collectors laugh. Most don't--they just sound confused and then they hang up. Although one said to someone else apparently in the next cubicle, "Come listen to this--it's the weirdest thing!"
My daughter's new favorite is to pretend she's looking for the debtor as well, because the debtor stole her boyfriend. She gets very aggressive, demanding that the caller tell her any addresses or phone number the caller might have for "that slut." The last time she tried it, the caller patiently told her for the Nth time that she couldn't give out the address, and that this was the only number they had. But then ended the conversation with "Honey, you can find yourself a better guy than that. Just let it go."
My daughter thinks we'd have even more fun if I'd let her swear. But I told her that wasn't fair to the minimum wage employees sitting in a cubicle making call after futile call. I suppose our jokes aren't fair either, but by this time, I figure they deserve it. We tried telling them my older child wasn't at this number, but because I was unwilling to give them a better number, they never stop calling.
And this middle aged lady has to get her kicks wherever she can find them!