Sunday, March 4, 2007

Dial W for Weird

It was a dark and windy day when the call came in... nine times... from Tonasket... but first, a little background info.

My old cell phone croaked right after Christmas so I got a new Samsung. It's nice, it has a camera, color LCD screen inside, monochrome LCD screen outside, has mp3 ringtone capability, and you can actually call people on it, too.

I spent a lot of time updating my contacts, putting everyone into groups. So now when I get a call the outside LCD screen will show an icon for whatever group they are (Family, Friends, Work, Haunted House) and will display the person's name. If it's a call from someone that I don't have programmed into my phone, it will simply display the number with no icon.

Like I said, it was a dark and windy day when the first call came. Friday at around 4pm I get a call from an un-programmed number. But this one is different. This one is showing a computer with a phone icon. Weird.

I open the phone to answer but I can't even do that. Normally, the screen has the options of "Accept" or "Reject." This time, I can only "Reject." "Accept" isn't even on the screen. Try as I might, I can't answer this call. Coming from a computer. With a phone.

Thinking it's just a glitch in the system, I reject it. Only to have it call me back 5 minutes later. Same deal all over again.

I'm on my way out to my car to go home and it rings a 3rd time. Now I'm getting pissed. I decied to call the number back and find out what the hell this bonehead with the computer and the phone is trying to do. Maybe it's a telemarketer using a computer-dialing machine. Maybe it's a fax machine. Maybe it's an automated dialing service. Maybe the fucking federal government is tapping my damn line again.

Anyway, I call it back and am told via a cell-phone-company recording that I "can't do that on this line. Please dial 611 for customer service."

Fuck'em. Forget that.

On my drive home the phone rings 4 more times... from the same number:


Once I get home it happens twice. For those of you bad at math, that's a grand total of 9.

Now I'm curious. Where the hell is area code 509? So once I get settled in the house I do a little Googling. 509 is in the state of Washington. The prefix 486 comes from a four-street burb called Tonasket.

The mystery deepens. I know only one person in Washington (an old Spymac buddy) but he doesn't live in Tonasket. But I email him anyway, hoping maybe he might know something about the town. Maybe they have a telemarketing firm there. Maybe they have a cell phone relay center there. Maybe THAT'S where the REAL Area 51 is and the Mothership is trying to contact me.

Good ol' Ric jumped right on it and came up with two names of people I don't know, nor have I ever
heard of. I thanked him for his diligent research but I'm still stumped.

That night after Argon-Man comes home I tell him my tale. He then tells me about something he saw on CNN last week about new technology being used in vending machines. These machine can now automatically dial their home office or service center whenever they experience an error or malfunction. So perhaps there's a Coke machine somewhere in Tonasket, Washington, that's desperately trying to tell its service center that it's out of Sprite. And it's dialing my number by mistake.

Which COULD make sense. I got the nine phone calls from 4-5pm Eastern Time... which is 1-2pm Pacific Time... right after lunch. Perhaps the workers in Tonasket really like Sprite.

Since this episode I've asked several people if they'd had any weird phone incidents like this. So far, I'm the only one.

It could have been just some freak thing with my cellular company. Maybe a malfunctioning tower. Maybe a satelite freaking out. The weather WAS awfully windy that day. Could be the weird weather. Sunspots. Alien interference. The fuckking federal government. Who knows.

I only know this; I hope it doesn't happen again. And that Coke machine still needs a refill on Sprite pronto.


RicTresa said...

Maybe they were trying to text message you.. look what I found.


Unknown said...

Exactly the same thing just happened to me half an hour ago, and your post is the only one about this subject i could find on the internet! Did you find any more info about this event since then?
It was from a number similar to mine, only one digit was different, my cell phone rang and displayed an orange laptop with some bubbling animation and only a reject option, so I did exactly that ;)


(pavlegl at}

Hollygoyle said...

Pavle, I went to my cell phone dealer a while back (this problem had been occurring for over 2 years now) and explained the problem. The guy behind the counter had not heard of it, but recommended that I take the battery out and slap it back in again. That basically resets the phone.

Since then the problem has all but vanished. Every once in a while I'll get one 'ghost call,' so I just repeat the battery replacement trick and no more problem.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the quick response HollyGoyle!
That problem has been occurring for two years?! Wow, some kid is very bored with his life i guess, or someone is scanning for used phone numbers for who knows what purposes. Either way I'm intrigued how little I found about it on the net, but I'll keep on searching.
I hope that your boring buddy gets bored with this activity soon! Best wishes!