Over the last few days I’ve had an interesting experience. Prior to living where I presently live there once lived a charming couple by the name of "Mr. and Mrs. Amit." That’s all I know of these people, other than the still-lingering smell of exotic spices that will forever permeate one of my kitchen cabinents. But I’ve recently learned something new about the Amits: as well as having the good-taste to live in my future home, they also seem to have really pissed off a bunch of telemarketers somewhere on the Indian subcontinent.
This has become evident to me over the last few months in the form of bizarre, cryptically worded phone calls I have received on a regular basis from various Indian-or-Pakistani-accented telemarketing drones. Invariably these calls have the same basic script — First the phone rings at some odd hour and I answer it and hear only the sound of a crackling long-distance connection bouncing across several satellites and what sounds like Calcutta’s ancient telephone infrastructure. Next a heavily accented male or female asks for "Mr. or Mrs. Amit." In the background I can hear the sounds of a sweatshop in which what may be dozens of other operators are making similar calls. I politely explain to the caller that Amits no longer live here and that I am Mr. Spivack, the new resident. There is no response on the other side, but they invariably hang up on me as I am speaking the "Please put…" part of "Please put me on your do-not-call-list."
In the last month the frequency of these odd calls has increased, and with it, I have become more creative in trying to convince them that I really am not Mr. Amit. I use my best all-American accent and I even get belligerent. But they never believe me, and they always hang up just as I am saying "Please put…"
Yesterday, for some reason, these folks decided to turn it up a notch. I guess they really wanted to teach the Amits a lesson! I received dozens of calls in the same 2 hour period, starting at about 6 PM PST. Sometimes the calls were from the same operators, sometimes new ones. They all worked in the same facility however — I could tell from the unique background noise. I tried the "I am not Mr. Amit" answer, I tried the "The Amits no longer live here," answer, I even tried the "Can I speak to your manager" answer (to which I received a very polite, "Of course Sir, one minute please, Sir" after which they would politely hang up on me every time).
Finally, after the Nth call I was getting frustrated. These people were interfering with my enjoyment of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, dammit! I decided, This. Has. Got. To. Stop.
They called me one more time.
Crackling sound. "Hello, may I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Amit," the operator requested.
Finally it hit me. I knew what to say.
"The Amits have moved back to Pakistan," I announced matter-of-factly. I had no idea whether this was true, or whether the Amits were even Pakistanis for that matter. But I knew this would finally register as making sense in the mind of the caller.
Silence…Then: "To Pakistan?" the operator replied.
"Yes," I said. "Somewhere in Pakistan."
Silence…Then: "Thank you," the voice replied.
And that’s the last call I received from them.
Peace at last! Although, if there is anyone in Pakistan with the last name "Amit," they are probably not as lucky.