I wake to the sound of a brass band playing inside my very own bedroom, and, in fact, very close to my ear, and I wonder how and why they got inside the house to play for me at 3 a.m.
Wait a minute! 3 a.m.? Then I realise that it's only my phone, and peer at the screen and see that it's my Mom calling. Mom? Mom?? Ohmigod! Has she fallen down the stairs? Is she ill? Is she hurt? Did my grandmother (with whom she lives) die in the middle of the night? Ohmigod, Ohmigod, Ohmigod!
"Mom," I say breathlessly into the phone, only moments away from a panic attack, "what's wrong?"
"Hi!" she trills, "you're awake?" She doesn't sound at all like she's lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs.
"Er...yeah," I say, "because you just woke me up!"
"Listen," she continues conspiratorially, disregarding me and my apparent miffed-ness, "I just received this message that reads 'CONGRATS!!! YOUR MOBILE NUMBER HAS WON YOU $1 MILLION DOLLARS IN THE SHELL MOBILE DRAW 2009/2010.TO CLAIM, CONTACT MR. BROWN AT firstname.lastname@example.org.' "
"Mom, that's a scam. I get messages like that almost everyday."
"But what if I really won? Me! Imagine!"
"I want you to mail Mr. Brown tomorrow telling him that I got this message and I would like to claim my prize money and see what he says, okay?"
He'll say send him some money to claim your prize, and the next thing we know, we'll be arrested and thrown in jail for aiding and abetting something nefarious, and there we will spend the rest of our natural lives weaving baskets.
"Okay, Mom," I sigh.
"I wonder what I'll do with the prize money? I know! I'll buy a new car, and I'll get the house painted and I'll buy that garden set that I've been wanting, and a gazebo!" I can imagine her almost salivating at the mere thought.
Sedatives. What about sedatives? Would you like to buy some of those?
"Mom, I'll tell you in the morning, okay? I mean, when I wake up again. After I reach work and have a chance to mail him.Okay?"
Message from Mom :Did you mail him yet?
Me: Mom, I haven't even reached work as yet.
Mom : Did you mail?
Me: Mom, I'm in a meeting. I'll mail him later.
Mom : Just wanted to remind you to mail, in case you'd forgotten...
Why? Because the trauma of being woken up by you at 3 a.m. has caused me to develop short-term memory loss?
Me: I'm doing it right now.
So I promptly mail the honourable 'Mr.Brown', expecting someone to send me a reply containing numerous typos and a demand to send money. I can imagine him sitting at his ramshackle computer, in a dingy room, all gaunt and bald, an evil grin on his face, thinking to himself - Sucker! There's one born every minute!
To my surprise, the mail returns to my mail inbox undelivered, and I'm overjoyed, ecstatic, that there is now no apparent way to contact the mysterious Mr.Brown, and that this harassment will finally end.
I call her. "Mom, I sent the mail, and it came back undelivered, because no such ID exists. See? I told you it was a scam.I looked it up on the internet, and there are tons of people who've had the same thing happen to them. Can we just forget about it now, Ma?"
I expect a sad and philosophical sigh, and an end to this madness. Instead, I get "Are you sure? Did you type the name correctly? It's Ronald Brown. R-O-N-A-L..." at which point, I hang up, because she has just gotten on my last nerve.
Not one to give up easily (a trait I have inherited from her-I call it sticktoitivity, and everyone else who knows me calls it manic stubbornness-but hey, you know, potayto-potahto) she calls back.
Mom: "Hello? I think the line got disconnected. So as I was saying, I think there's been some mistake..."
Me: (trying to sound like someone else-anyone else but me) "I'm sorry Ma'am, but I believe you've dialed the wrong number. Perhaps you meant to call someone else?"
Mom: "No, I'm quite sure I dialed my daughter's number."
Me: "I'm sorry, Ma'am. But this is the eBay customer service helpline."
Mom: "Oh,wonderful! In that case, I'd like to place an order for a gazebo with you please."