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There is a phone on my desk at work. Someone told me to be wary of answering it, but I am of the opinion that it’s much safer to answer someone else’s phone than your own. At least then it’s almost certainly not you they’re after. This is doubly so of my current situation, since I am not only a faceless freelancer, but also happen (through the quirks of office geography and computer availability) to be situated in a department that is not my own, somewhere between fundraising and IT.

So when the snappy grey plastic telephone on my desk rang last week I answered it almost straight away. It was an American woman with a voice like the love interest in a 1970s Clint Eastwood film, wanting to talk to a lady no-one had heard of about some lanyards. I couldn’t help her, but we had a little chat about lanyards anyway. After such a pleasing experience I have resolved from henceforth to answer whenever it rings. At present no-one’s biting, and I’m wondering if maybe I should put up some cards in phone boxes or scratch the number into the window on the 8.17 out of Walthamstow Central. But perhaps such action might bring about the end of my contract a little earlier than planned.

It makes such a pleasant change from the days at my former place of work where the corner of my crash-site desk clamoured like a spoiled child with a steady stream of morons and timewasters, angry bar owners, flirtatious PR girls (they were alright) and the optimistic fellow who called once every couple of months to see if we wanted to buy some bog roll.

It occurs to me that maybe I simply used to take my responsibilities to the curly-tail a little too seriously. Yesterday the lady at a desk nearby picked up her phone.

‘Hello? Yes… oh. Tell you what, tell him I’m dead. Tell him I’ve fallen off me perch. It’s all over. Yeah ok, bye. ‘

And that is how to deal with demanding callers.

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