Friday, June 20, 2014


I had an unusual phone conversation the other day.

It all began about 10 days before, when I received what looked like a piece of junk mail. I was going to toss it, but for some reason, I decided to open the envelope. Inside was a note and a crisp one-dollar bill. It was from a radio survey service and the note said someone would be calling me to take the survey.

The first thing I wondered was whether of not the dollar bill was real. Then I wondered how many people had tossed out their envelopes and the dollar bills along with them.  I had visions of hundreds of envelopes with dollars in them, all lying in the town dump.

As promised, the survey company called me. When I saw it on the caller ID, I ignored it. But the company continued to call – twice a day, every day, even on weekends. I figured they really were determined to get their dollar’s worth out of me.

Finally, I got so sick of the phone calls, I caved in and answered.  Let’s just say that when I did, my voice sounded about as friendly as a bear’s just after hibernation.

The woman on the phone introduced herself as Mandy. She sounded pleasant and seemed unfazed by my growl. She asked me which radio station I listen to the most often, and where I usually am when I do. At home? At work? In the car? Jogging? I grunted an answer to each question. Then she said she wanted to send me a survey in the mail, and for filling it out, I would be paid enough to buy a cup of coffee.

I wondered if she meant a 7-11 coffee or a Starbuck’s coffee.

Then she asked, “Are you affiliated with the media or radio in any way?”

“Yes. I write for several newspapers and I interpret people’s dreams on the radio.”

“Ohhh,” she groaned. “That disqualifies you from taking the survey.”

I wasn’t exactly heartbroken. I was just about to ask her if she wanted her dollar back when she said, “So, you interpret dreams?”

“Yep. For the past 30 years.”

“Well, let me tell you about one I had the other night!  It was about my ex-husband. I want to poison him.”

“In your dream, or in real life?” I asked.

“In real life!” she said, laughing.

She then described her dream and I interpreted it. After that, she told me about a new man she’d recently met who is so wonderful, he seems too good to be true

“Be careful,” I said. “He just might be.”

She began to explain how she’d had to kiss a lot of toads before she finally found her prince. I told her I wouldn’t know how to date nowadays – nor would I be brave enough even to attempt it.

She said, “Well, safety is the most important thing in this day and age. Let me give you some pointers…from experience!”

She told me that first of all, never tell a man you live alone.

“Invent a roommate,” she said. “And make sure the roommate is a male – your uncle, or a cousin who just got out of the military...maybe a Navy SEAL.  Buy some men’s shoes and clothes at Goodwill – in big sizes – and leave them strategically placed around the house.”

“Then,” she said, “Make sure to get a couple surveillance cameras, so you can see who’s approaching your place. Put one in one of the rooms, too, in case someone tries to break in.”

“And,” she added, “If you try online dating, make sure the first time you meet the guy, it’s in a public place in the daytime. Take your own car, but park it a few blocks away, and then take a cab the rest of the way. When the date is over, have a cab take you back to your car. Otherwise, the guy will want to walk you to your car, and you don’t want him, especially if he’s a creep, to get your license-plate number. He can trace it online and find out where you live.”

She made preparing for a date sound like basic training for armed combat.

“I don’t even have a cab company anywhere near my town,” I said. “If I called a cab, it would take a half-hour to get here.”

She asked where I lived. I said New Hampshire.

“I’ve never been there,” she said. “I’m in Baltimore. You need a roommate?”

She then said, “People tell me I have great intuition, and my intuition is telling me good things are going to happen to you. I can feel it!”

“I hope so,” I said. “And I hope your relationship with your new guy works out.”

“Well, I’ve been divorced twice,” she said, “So I’m hoping the third time is a charm!”

“Sounds as if your good intuition hasn’t applied to most of the men in your life,” I had to say.

“No, but it’s been right about everything else!”

So maybe there’s hope that something good will happen to me.

Actually, now that I think about it, something good already has…I won’t be getting any more phone calls from the radio survey company.


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