Last week I got a call from a guy with whom I went to high school. He left his phone number and email address, both of which I lost when I inadvertently deleted his voice mail. He and I palled around a bit in high school, and he was a nice guy, so I didn't want him to think I'd just blown him off by not contacting him. So today I dialed 411 in the belief that his name was not that common (along the lines of Vladimir O'Donnell, ie, not insanely unheard-of, but not super-common either) and certainly not within one area code (the one I remembered him leaving in his message).
I called the number and a woman answered. I thought, "oh good for him! He's married!" I asked for him and gave my name. She said he wasn't home, and I could tell in her voice that she was wondering who the hell I was. So I said by way of explanation that he and I had gone to high school together and I was returning his call from last week.
Talk about an instant tone change. She said, "You went to high school with us? My husband has been calling you? What was your name again? When did he call you?," with the increasing inflection at the end of each sentence that can only mean, at best, that someone is sleeping on the couch tonight and, at worst, that an episode of Jerry Springer is in my future.
Recognizing what I was stepping in I quickly mentioned my family, my daughter, etc, and said, "Oh did you go to XYZ High School too?" in an attempt to universalize the conversation from Woman Calling Another Woman's Man to Former Classmate of Irrelevant Gender Calling Two Former Classmates Who Happen To Be Married.
She immediately lightened and said, "We didn't go to XYZ High School. I think you have the wrong Vladimir O'Donnell."
I started laughing and apologizing, saying, "Oh my god I am so glad to hear that! I am so sorry!" She laughed too and we got off the phone good-naturedly.
His name really isn't that common. Ten bucks poor Vlad The Second is getting GRILLED by Mrs. Vlad tonight regardless. Because what are the odds of two people having that name in the same area code, huh? Stranger things have happened to be sure. But if I was Mrs. Vlad the Second, I'd be suspicious all the same.
Good thing I didn't say, "You're his wife! How lovely!...He never mentioned you!"