Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's all your fault I screen my phone calls

I just input the first number, of many, I'm sure, to the "screen list" on my phone. And in the last two minutes I've had two missed calls from this number. Make that four.

This is definitely a feature I like.

To make a long story short (because I think we've had enough long stories recently)...Rachel was invited for a play date at her friend Katie's house a few days ago. We had never been to this friend's house before so before leaving I took Mirza's phone number from the Relief Society list that I have and saved it on my phone. I had her home phone number in there already, but I wanted to be sure to have her cell number just in case.

When we got to where her apartment should be I couldn't figure out which one it was, so I called her. For some reason I dialed her cell number instead of her home number. And that is where the problem begins.

See, it wasn't her cell number.

"Hello?" said a voice too deep to be Mirza's.

Thinking it was her husband I said, "Hello, is Mirza there?"

"Who is this? What's your name? What's your name? What's your name?"

Upon hearing the repetition of "what's your name" more than once in a row I realized that I didn't have her husband on the other end. I was speaking to an Arab male who apparently say "hello" very well in English.

"Oh, wrong number. Sorry." I said before hanging up.

I dialed Mirza's home phone number, figured out what apartment was hers, and had a wonderful morning there.

And then the phone calls started.

The first few times I answered because I had simply forgotten that when Mirza's name popped up on my screen it wasn't Mirza's number.

"Hello?" I answered once, expecting Mirza.

"Hello," the voice would respond, "You are beautiful. What's your name?"


"Hello?" I answered a few hours later.

The only response was panting. *Click!*

I stopped answering Mirza's calls. Andrew told me to change the contact name from Mirza to "Creepy Guy." That was a good idea, but it didn't keep the phone from ringing. Nor did it stop Creepy Guy from using other phone numbers to harass me.

I stopped answering my phone altogether.

I left it at home while we went to the zoo. We were gone for four hours or so; I had seventeen missed calls from four different numbers when we got home. Andrew spent the rest of the afternoon/evening answering my phone. Whenever he answered, though, the caller would hang up first. Late, late, late last night the phone rang again and this time when Andrew answered the caller didn't hang up, so Andrew reamed him out in Arabic.

But this morning he called again. Not from his own Creepy Guy phone number, but from a different one that I hadn't added to my contact list. I answered.


"Hello. *pant, pant, pant* What's your name, beautiful? *pant, pant* What's your *pant* name?"

"Stop. Calling. Me." I said before hanging up the phone.

And then I figured out how to add numbers to my screening list. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing. So beautiful that I'm singing to myself. I haven't had Spiderwebs stuck in my head since middle school.

Sorry I'm not home right now
Walking into spider webs
Leave a message and I'll call you back...

...It's all your fault
I screen my phone calls
No matter who calls
I gotta screen my phone calls!

So Creepy Guy can still call me, technically--the phone just doesn't ring on my end. Instead my phone lights up with a message telling me that a screened number is calling. There's a big X by the number, advising me not to pick up, I guess. And I don't plan on it. His calls are still listed in my "missed calls" file so I can count the number of times that he calls, which is freakishly frequently.

I'm not really concerned now that I have all four of his numbers in my screen list. But what if he finds more numbers to use? Eventually he has to stop, right?

If not, I wonder if he knows that assaulting a foreigner involves a 3 to 7 year prison sentence. Harassment is probably not punished as severely, but I'm sure there would still be a prison sentence.

I'm not sure I would want to be the one to have to make that call, though, so if screening fails to accomplish anything and this continues, I will probably just fork out the 50 pounds it costs for a new SIM card (and thus new phone number). I don't know. Is that too passive? I tend to be a little passive.

And a little paranoid. Because I know that cell phone companies have you fill out a contract before they give you a SIM card and that contract has your address listed on it and Egypt is really kind of corrupt so I wouldn't doubt that a quasi-generous "tip" could enable any joe-schmo to access information on our contracts that is meant to be private. But that's really entering the realm of paranoia a little too much, don't you think?


  1. No I think you are paranoid perfectly fine. I would be. That guy is not at all creepy (sense the sarcasm). Geez, gross.

  2. Poor Nancy. The same thing happened to me a long time ago when I was expecting JC. We lived on the 14th floor of a huge & lonely building. The calls would start at night at soon as I'd turn the lights on. Philippe was working till very late and quite far away. And it got pretty scary because we didn't understand how the guy could have made the connection between our phone and our apartment. We sent to the police and got the number changed and the calls stopped. The mystery and scare remained even tho the police had told us: "Usually the talkers are not the doers!" Change your number and forget about "Creepy guy"!

  3. Yeah, we had that problem on a cell phone and our land line! This guy started calling, asking for 'Dalia'. And at home, they would play the 'hello' game. 'allo? allo?" and i'm like, you called me, why are you wanting to know who it is? it got so that we couldn't answer the home phone and only used our mobile. it's a pain to change the cell phone number, but it might be worth it. or just learn some really bad insults, "3yeeb ya kelb" usually works pretty well!! ;)

  4. nancy, that is totally creepy. I think you should change the number!

  5. @Marie -- You have a blog! I read it, but I couldn't comment! I was happy to read it though!

    @Nancy--this happened to Auntie Arlene when they lived in the little rental house at the bottom of the hill--and same thing like for Auntie Marie, he somehow knew where they lived. She also had to call the police about it.

  6. Oh Nancy! That really sucks. Maybe you should tell him off next time he calls. I would love to be there and see that happen.

    When I was in the ME a couple of years ago, the dudes there would stare me down like they had never seen a girl before. It bothered me a ton. One day I was at a stop light with my dad and I had enough of the staring from the car next to me. So I rolled down my window and yelled at the top of my lungs to them in Arabic "Haven't you ever seen a girl before! Your mother and your sister is a girl so leave me the heck alone!" They stopped staring and my dad sped of in the car. He was so embarrassed!

    Just be careful, you are not being paranoid at all. You do live in Egypt after all.

  7. In his ARE beautiful.

    Seriously? That's creepy.

  8. Creepy! Seriously, that guy doesn't need prison time, he needs a therapist! I hope he just quits calling, so you don't have to figure out what the next step is.

  9. really need to bring this to someone in law enforcement over there. I don't know how the laws works there, but I had a similar experience here (and i am not the type of woman you want to text or call to harrass due to my husband's line of work), because he took the phone call and needless to say, I never received another. But you should at least let someone know in case he tries anything else. Be careful!

  10. Ugh. This happened to me about a year ago. The guy eventually gave up. I think I only dealt with it for a week or so.