[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

We get many robo-calls and calls from call centers. The robo-calls are always the same three. One begins, in a serious baritone voice: “Seniors!” The second, from an excited-sounding woman, exclaims: “Let the good times begin!” I once listened to this for more than thirty seconds; it was about time-sharing. The third, also from a woman: “This is an important message about your credit card. There is nothing wrong with your card, but….” She wants me to switch to a card with a lower interest rate. I can’t even tell these three recordings to leave me alone; there’s only a circle-dialing mechanism at the other end.

I recognize call centers by the background buzz of voices. Then someone who can barely speak English mispronounces my last name and introduces himself. Whatever Ramon or Filipe wants to sell me, I cut him off sharply and hang up. When I first did this, I also felt sorry for Ramon or Filipe, whatever third-world country he was calling from, because he must have been at the end of his rope to have to listen to me yell at him and slam down the receiver. But now I’ve grown hard. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

I should buy three new phones with caller I.D. capability — for the kitchen, my office and the bedroom. Somehow it never gets to the top of my list. I’d rather spend money on something pleasurable. Or perhaps some part of me likes being annoyed.