As I came to the end of the call, I started to explain that he would get a call from the surveyor to arrange a visit.
“Have you been passed my mobile number?” he asked.
“Yes, your insurers passed us the details,” I replied thinking he might be annoyed that we had his mobile number.
“They have definitely passed you my mobile number?”
“Well yes, I’ve called you on it now.”
“It’s ok, I’m in my car but you’re on hands free. I’m not driving.”
“It’s best that I’m called on my mobile by the surveyor. So you’ve got my mobile number?”
“Yes, I’m talking to you on it now.”
“Oh right. I wasn’t sure. I’m in the car see on hands free.”
I was somewhat perturbed by this and a little confused. What exactly did he think I called him on? Did he think I called him on the landline? In his car? Is he currently driving along with a 40 mile telephone cable stretching far behind him? Or is his mobile phone along with his office number and home number diverted to a banana in his car?
The thing is, this guy is supposed to be intelligent. He is a pharmacist!
I’m guessing there are people getting all sorts of crazy drugs in that area. A man simply wants to make love to his wife for the first time in years and thinks he’s picked up some Viagra pills but, Einstein the chemist has given him a powerful laxative. Alas, his evening is ruined, along with his self esteem and his marriage! Poor, poor man.
But everyone has a bad day and gets a little confused from time to time. Nobody is infallible. Even I make little brain farts now and again. Am I talking to my landline whilst driving along? It’s a genuine question to ask oneself.
A few years ago I joined the 3 mobile phone network. They were the pioneers in the UK for video messaging. I had one of their fancy flip phones at the time although I didn’t utilise the full potential of the video messaging capabilities that were within my pocket. I still considered myself a pioneer though by association. No one else had a 3 phone who I knew. It’s a lonely place being at the cusp, the cutting edge, the crest of a wave of new technology amongst your archaic piers.
One day in December, I received a message. It buzzed differently to the normal kind of message alert I received. I opened it up to find that I had received a video message. My very first video message.
So excited to receive this, I pretended that I needed the toilet. I entered the gents, flipped my phone open and hit open message. There in all it’s poor resolution glory, was a video message from…..who was that?
I was looking at a fat business man. A fat businessman in his car, driving. The man then looked at the camera and said, “I’m on the M6 stuck in traffic and I’m really pissed off!” With that, the message ended.
It was a strange message. Clearly he thought that he would take the time to divert his concentration away from the road, which happened to be one of the busiest motorways in Britain; record a little message, which lets face it, may have been one of many takes and then send it to the completely wrong number, who just so happened to be me! Luckily I had a 3 phone too otherwise I may have microwaved my own brain trying to retrieve it.
It was clearly an important message hence all that effort and additional cost. I had to do something. I had to let him know that he had sent the message to the wrong person. It seemed only fitting that I too respond to my new video pen pal with a revolutionary video message.
I walked into the office and with the help of a colleague I filmed a short message and sent it.
I got no response. I hope he didn’t crash the car. There was nothing nasty or aggressive about the message. In fact, quite the opposite. I was merely showing empathy and understanding to his predicament.
But, it was a day in the office where people had given out their “Secret Santa” gifts. This little tradition involved team members picking a name out of a hat and with a pre agreed budget, would buy a christmas present for their chosen person. Usually, the presents would be of a comic theme. Unless you got someone old. In which case, chocolate, booze or a Cliff Richard calendar would suffice.
I borrowed two of these gifts from colleagues to use in the video message to my little fat business friend who was stuck in traffic.
He may have been stationary when his phone buzzed. He, like me, may have been excited to receive such a message. A little flutter of excitement, somewhere in his fat belly. He would then press “Open message.”
He may not have realised what he was looking at when the video began. I hope he didn’t concentrate for too long rather than concentrate on the road.
He would have seen someone sat in a gimp mask with a hat that was shaped like a chicken, looking at the camera silently for a few seconds and then it spoke. Heartwarming words of empathy.
“Oh man….That M6 is a right bastard!”
As I said, I didn’t get a response.
I was hoping we could stay in touch.