The sixty-something-year-old man comes in to answer his ringing phone, which he had left on the receptionist’s desk. Hmm, an iPhone 4, I observed.
He sees me standing there on the phone. Well, on the phone, waiting for someone on the other end of the line to answer.
“Oh, are you calling me?” he teases, and he’s got an accent. Lebanese, I think to myself.
“No,” I ride along, “but for a second there I thought I was!”
I am calling my mom.
He is now calling a person back. My mom has not answered the call, so I give up. She’ll call me back, I reason to myself.
The man is still facing me.
“What’s your name?” he asks, while calling his other person back.
I tell him my first name, making sure I articulate and exaggerate the consonants. I am expecting that he will ask me to repeat myself. Such are the pains of having a name that one’s parents made up.
The man repeats my name perfectly, rolling the r as he pronounces it.
“Yes,” I am astonished. “That’s it.”
“How old are you?”
“Umm, I’m, ahh–sorry, I have to think! I forgot for a second there. I’m twenty four.” I had honestly forgotten.
“You have a boyfriend?”
Hoo boy. Here we go.
I am in a dilemma. Should I say yes, or no? The phone is still ringing in his hand, but the person he is calling is not picking up. I decide on honesty.
“You want a boyfriend?” he grins. “I know someone.”
I think for a few seconds. Tough question. I do, or do I?
“Nah,” I decided to reply. I need to explain further, maybe, because it came out a bit too rude.
“Oh, hey, mate. You were calling me?” his conversation shifts to the person on his phone.
Whew. Saved by the man on the other end of the line.
Thanks, dude, for picking up.