Thursday, September 18, 2008

Public Property

The problem with public property is that you'd have to follow someone else's rules and people can come up with some pretty stupid rules.

Cell Phone Mixup

I've had my cell phone for a couple of years now. I've had the number even longer, about 10 years.

One afternoon, I was leaving work. I don't get a signal at my desk so I shut off the phone during the day to save the battery. When I get out to the parking lot, I turn it on and it plays catch up with any calls/voicemails/text messages I missed during the day. My phone chimes, I have a text message.

"Hey, what are you guys doing tonight?"

My phone doesn't recognize the phone number or it would've put someone's name on the header corresponding to an entry in the address book. I don't recognize the phone number either. So I reply.

"Who dis?"

"Mark," a few minutes later.

I know a Mark. He's very social, looking for things to do with friends so I text back.

"[Mrs. Lock] out of town. Home alone."

I get the reply.

"Who's [Mrs. Lock]?"

So I know there's a crossed wire somewhere. I text back,

"Don't know you. Sorry."

That's the end of it. No responding texts.

The next day, I get up, check my phone. There's a missed call. From the same mystery number that text me yesterday. There's no voicemail, so I blow it off.

That night, I'm sitting at my computer. It's about 11:30p. I've got my cell next to me and it rings. It's the same phone number from the strange text messages. I answer.

"Hello?" Long pause. "Hello? Who is this," I ask.

"Mark," the caller replies.

"How can I help you Mark?"

I hear the phone pull away from the speaker's mouth as he says "What the f-?" Disconnect.

I go back to the computer. Maybe 30 minutes later, it's after midnight now, I get a text. It's from you-DONT-know-who.

"Are you upstairs?" it reads.

At this point, my mental wheels start turning. I am indeed upstairs. But this guy has mistaken me for someone else. I look around and remembered I opened the curtains and windows fully to cool the room off. It's dark outside. I can't see anything but people could see in if there's anyone standing out there.

I text back. "I don't know you."

He texts back. "I'm downstairs."

Oh crap! I fly up out of my chair, I start turning on all the lights, in the hallway. I fly down the stairs, turn on the entry hall light, more hallway lights, living room, dining room, kitchen. I'm checking all the locks on the doors. They are still locked. There can't be anyone in my house. This guy must have the wrong number I think to myself despite being a little freaked out at the moment.

I hear some noises outside so I open the back door and step out onto the porch. There is a party going on a few doors down. It's very typical coming from that house though. If they weren't noisy late at night, I'd know something is wrong. I listen for any other noises, movements in the dark. There is nothing.

I come back inside, close the door. Lock it. Decide to go to bed. I take my cell phone with me but since this guy is a night owl, I don't want his calls waking me up. So I silence the ringer.

Finally I get to sleep after the adrenaline leaves my system. I get up the next morning and the first thing I do is look at my phone. No missed calls. No text messages.

I recounted the whole story to my wife over the phone. She mentioned she sold her old cell phone in a garage sale the day before and I could be getting messages from that. It's possible although the area code she sold the phone in does not match the one calling me. I decide to do nothing.

Later that day I get one more message from Mystery Mark. It says "Want to play vball at vic?" Sounds harmless. Not very stalker-like. I ignore that one and that's the last I've heard from them.