To the young woman who has decided to drunk-dial her ex-boyfriend and got me instead, I’m very sorry for your suffering. And if you call me back at, say, 11:00 in the morning, when I could really use a break from my work, I’ll be happy to listen to you weep and tell me what an ass he is.
To the socialites who call looking for Bob or Barbi or a taxi at 3:00 in the morning, I’m very happy for you that your social life is so full. I can tell you’re having a wonderful time at that party. The music sounds great—whoever is in charge of the stereo is doing a fabulous job. But Bob doesn’t live here, nor does Barbi, and there’s no way I’m getting out of my warm bed to come and pick you up so you can throw up in my car.
To those who are calling the Metro Vancouver area code from the other side of the world, please be especially careful with your dialing. I know it’s a lot of numbers and it’s easy to get one wrong, but consider what it’s like for me to fumble in the dark for the phone and to hear you asking over and over again for your intended party in a language I don’t speak. Here’s a handy tip: If the person who answers the phone clearly doesn’t understand you, you’ve probably got the wrong number. Shouting loudly will not help her find the person you want.
If you happen to be a client of mine and are sending me a fax from Europe or calling me from the East Coast, stop for just a minute and remember that I’m in the Pacific time zone. Where you are it may be a perfectly reasonable business hour, but where I am we are all snoring gently in our beds (except for those who are out partying and calling me for a ride). Keep this in mind: I edit much better and more efficiently when I don’t have to prop my eyes open with toothpicks because I’ve been woken up by your call in the wee hours. I’m also much less cranky when I’ve had a full night’s sleep and therefore less likely to write “Did you never learn grammar in school, you moron?” in big red letters on your manuscript.
I know you’re probably thinking I should just turn the phones off at night so that you don’t have to worry your drunken or thoughtless little heads over waking me. But we have elderly relatives and sick relatives and my husband is part of an emergency response team, so that’s not an option. When I hear the phone ring at night, my first thought is that someone has died or there’s been an apartment-building fire and 50 people need help finding food and clothes and a place to stay. And with all that phone-induced adrenalin rushing through my body, it’s really hard for me to make sense of your weeping or drunken slurring or foreign-to-me language or requests for a rush job.
Please, late-night callers, please, think before you dial.