So, according to some people, I’m married. In know, it came as a surprise to me as well. I don’t remember a wedding, though I know it can all be a blur, I don’t even remember proposing or, for that matter, even meeting this woman. She must be really little, because I never see her. I guess I must make for a horrible husband – no wonder I live alone.
At this point you must be wondering who these people are who have made such a claim, because obviously they don’t know me at all. Apparently, they’d like to think they know me, and that’s the problem, they’ve made an assumption. Who are these unnamed people? Telemarketers and solicitors. I’ve gotten so used to it over the years that sometimes I don’t even react to it anymore. Though, I must admit, sometimes it really annoys me. Then again, I’ve also been known to play along with it, because it amuses me.
The other night it happened again. A salesman, from a cable company, came to my door offering new services because of recent upgrades in the area. Sidebar: if you really want to tick me off ring my doorbell and then bang on my door. Uh, one or the other – not both – certainly not both within seconds of each other, which he did. So, when I opened the door and asked what he wanted, I was already annoyed by his presence. In spewing out his sales talk, he wondered if “we’d” be interested in the new service and asked me what do “you guys” currently have. I never corrected him and in fact all but shut the door in his face because he was holding me up. Perhaps he’s heard of my other personalities and was merely referring to them, though I highly doubt it. It’s obvious a single person can own a house and maintain it – especially a guy. I’ll have to let a couple of my other single male neighbors know that.
A few months back, I donated money to a fund drive for a family oriented radio station that plays Christian contemporary music. When I called in to give my pledge I was asked if I wanted to include my wife’s name when they mention the pledge on air. On that occasion I did correct the person on the other end, though after hanging up, I had to wonder what it was that I said or how I sounded that implied that I was married versus single. Perhaps the demographics of the station prove that the majority of the listening audience is made up of family or married couples, not single people who may or may not donate the next time a pledge drive comes around.
My favorite dealing with this issue came up years ago – back in the days before you could put your phone number on the ‘do not call’ list for telemarketers. I remember one call in particular when the caller asked if the ‘woman of the house’ was there. “No,” was my response. “Do you know when she will be back?” was the followup question. In all honesty, I replied with, “I have no idea.” I love leaving telemarketers all befuddled.
It is interesting to note that while there is the occasional mistaken assumption that I’m married, there has of yet been the assumption that I’m a parent. Surely I’m old enough to have fathered at least one child. Perhaps there’s just a “look” fathers have versus us guys who are childless. Then again, that would be an assumption on my part. Frankly, I’m surprised that with all of the access that we have today to other cultures and countries and talk of global markets that it all still comes down to personal relationships, i.e. family dynamics. The norm is still to be married and then, next to have kids (and a pet – don’t forget the pet).
If we fit people into a convenient little box that we know how to deal with, we don’t have to spend time getting to know them or adapting to their personality. If there are two or more people in my household then for sure we’d want faster internet service and the like. If there’s a woman in the house then for sure she’d want to talk to someone about particular services or products that the telemarketer was selling, geared toward women. If a family oriented radio station is gaining single men (or women) in their audience, how does that change what they play or talk about? The problem with assuming (and I have to work on this too) is that we miss out on knowing the other person for who they really are.