Get Off My Tits!

Unsolicitated phone calls and e-mails. I hate them! The former have brought me to stop answering my home phone; the latter clog up my inbox and probably drive my Web host insane.

I don’t know what brought to open up one of the spam e-mails (subject being “Hi” and McAfee having marked it as spam). It turns out it was one of a million e-mails for Vi*gr* or a lookalike. This one killed me, though. “Even if you have no erection problems Vi*gr* would help you to make better sex more often,” it explains. And it ends with this claim: “the majority of men after taking this medication were able to have perfect erection during 24 hours!”

I laughed out loud. First, “to make better sex more often” reminded me of Costas in Shirley Valentine, when he proposed to “make fuck” with her. And then, thinking of a 24-hours erection, I said to myself, “That’s some serious edging session!”

But the thing is, I do hope they mean that the men could achieve numerous “perfect erections” over a 24-hour period and not that they had a “perfect erection” FOR 24 hours. Because there is such a thing as priapism, you know. Just sayin’. A 24-hour hard on is just NOT a good thing!

Meanwhile, as I’ve written above, I’ve stopped answering my home phone these days. Yes, there’s the fact I spend my entire workday on the phone and I can’t stand another call after that. But it’s also because the vast majority of the calls are “spam calls” and I figure friends or family will leave me a message.

For instance, in a span of about 4 hours today, I got 3 such calls that I know of (since I was out during part of that time). Thanks to dialing *69, I figured out the first one came from this call centre. I dialed the number and, after finally being offered a chance to leave a message requesting that my number be taken off their list, I landed in voice-mail jail. But then I noticed an e-mail address in the “Privacy” section of their website and, against my better judgement, I fired off this e-mail.

To: Assholes
From: Me
Date: Nov 24, 2007 1:50 PM
Subject: Please Remove from List

Hello,

It’s because of outfits like yours that I don’t answer my home phone anymore.

I must say I’m nervous even to e-mail you, thus providing you an e-mail address. I tried to have my number removed by phone, but of course “that user’s voice mailbox was full.” That certainly raised you in my esteem …NOT!

*PLEASE*: Immediately remove me from your call list. Clearly you already have my name with this e-mail, which is one bit of info I’m loathe to give you, and the phone number to remove is 902 555 5555. The last time you tried to call me was Saturday, November 24 at around 1:40 pm Atlantic time. However, you also called sometime last week (I recorded your number through *69 but, unfortunately, failed to note the date and time).

Hoping you’ll NEVER call me again…

I did the *69 thing after the second call, but could hardly understand a word of their voice-mail message, let alone the company’s name, and wasn’t offered an option to have my number removed — at least, that I could understand.

Finally, *69 after the third call gave me a number and a relatively prompt offer to select 1 to have my number removed. I followed the instructions and, upon completion, heard, “Please allow 4 weeks to action this request.”

Four. Fucking. Weeks. Plus I hate it when “action” is used a verb. I hear such turns of phrase at work too often and I cringe ever time.

I admit that I feel sorry for those who work in such call centres. Those who work in outgoing centres have to contend with unpleasant people like me who curtly ask them to have his number removed from their list and refuse to explain why or engage in any kind of conversation except to achieve the result I desire. And those who work in incoming centres are in an environment whose stress is second only to that experienced by air-traffic controls (or so some studies suggest). I feel sorry because I’m having to shoot the innocent messager. But I don’t believe the pitches and surveys are important enough to turn the sound of a ringing phone into a sound to be dreaded.

As If It Were Water

For a guy who freely admits being thrifty if not downright cheap, I’ve been spending quite a bit lately. But the fact of the matter is that most of the things I’m getting or paying for these days have been due for replacement for a while or have become due just now.

Wallet— I have no idea how long I’ve had the same wallet. None whatsover! All I know is that it’s been falling apart for some time, and recently it dawned on me how pathetic it has become. So, I finally replaced it last night. When I pulled some cash from the old one to pay for the new one and jokingly remarked about the state of the old one, the young lady behind the counter laughed and said, “That’s such a MALE thing. The wallet falls apart: get a new one. All the socks have holes in them: get a big batch of socks at Wal-Mart.” I mockingly bowed my head in shame and said, “You sure have my number!”

Doc Martens— Similarly, I have no idea exactly how long I’ve had my Doc Martens. All I know is that I’m the polar opposite of Imelda Marcos: one pair of sandals, one pair of winter boots, and the pair of Docs. Although my current pair is in pretty good shape considering I’ve had them for at least 5 or 6 years — Docs are indestructible — they are starting to fray. So, after months of thinking “I have to get a new pair of Docs,” I finally got that pair today.

WWW I have a whack of Internet domain names coming due soon. Hard to believe it’s been 5 years already…

— There’s another significant purchase I made this week, but I can’t talk about it right now.

— I asked El Poema what his mother might like as a Christmas gift from me — perhaps something that can’t be got or easily got in Mexico. The best suggestion he could make was authentic Canadian maple syrup, pointing out what I already knew: there’s not much you can’t get in that megapolis that is Mexico DF. Would you have any better suggestions if I told you that she’s not one for anything fancy?

— I also have car-related expenses I’ve been putting off, including having the winter tires installed now that the snow is starting to fly.

Puerto Escondido— And finally, the Christmas on the beach getaway for El Poema and yours truly is booked and paid for as of overnight. Appropriately, we first talked about this trip on the first snowy day in Halifax, and it got confirmed on the first REALLY cold day in Halifax. The price tag on the return flight and four nights’ accommodations in Puerto Escondido for both of us is almost the same as my return flight between Halifax and Mexico City, but it will be SO worth it.

We were unable to get a straight answer from the place we wanted to stay in Zipolite, although we suspect it was probably already booked. Getting the package we chose instead was quite a ceremony, though. I make a lot of purchases online, but this Mexican company was the worst and most confusing I’ve ever had to deal with, and it had nothing to do with the language barrier since El Poema quickly took over. Although he admittedly hates dealing with money matters, he came close to throwing in the towel at one point: “Going to the beetch is supposed to be easy, not like this!” He was particularly pissed at how we’re being flown to Huatulco, some 80 km east, when no mention of this fact is made on the outline of the package, although transportation to and from Puerto is included. What I find interesting in hindsight is that Huatulco is closer to Zipolite than Puerto.