(N.B. – Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 before jumping right into this story…)

So there I was, standing in the courtyard of St. Mark’s Church, after a long rehearsal and what seemed like an even longer session of listening to Wrong Number Guy leave these desperate messages for some woman (not me!) on my phone.

I decided to take pity on him and call him back. He at least deserved to know that his messages weren’t getting to the right person.

He picked up. “Why haven’t you been answering your damn phone?” He sounded annoyed.

“I hate to tell you this, but I have no idea who you are. You’ve been leaving messages on my phone for the last couple of days, and I think you have been dialing the wrong number.”

“What?” He thought I was joking. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure this is my number.”

“But I was just texting her!”

“Well, you might have dialed the wrong number by a digit or something. You’ve left about eight or so messages on my voicemail and I just don’t want you to think you’re being ignored by whomever you are really calling.”

He was clearly grasping the concept of a wrong number very slowly, because he kept asking me what I meant. Finally he said, “Oh, okay, I’m sorry,” and hung up.

Mission accomplished, I thought, mentally wiping my hands clean of the whole affair. I walked to my car and started driving home…it had been a late rehearsal, and I was exhausted. I plugged my phone into my car and started listening to my favorite podcasts.

Ten minutes into my drive, my podcast listening was interrupted by a phone call…by Wrong Number Guy! I ignored the call, hoping he would finally listen to the outgoing message and realize that I was not the woman he thought I was. Sure enough, he didn’t leave a message.

I imagined him with his friends at that party. ┬áDid he call the number and leave it on speaker as my outgoing message played, and did they all have a big laugh? I hope so, because that’s what I would have done.

So he finally got the idea, I thought. I hope he got that girl’s real number. I got home and went to sleep.

When I got up that morning, I saw that he had called again, somewhere around 3:00 AM again. No message, though.

Over the next couple of days, I got missed calls from Wrong Number Guy here and there. One day I was sitting in a cafe in Philly when the phone rang and it was Wrong Number Guy again. I decided to pick up the phone.

“This is Maren.”

“Hey, I’m on my way right now.”

“I still have no idea who you are. Why do you keep calling me?”

“Oh it’s you again? I don’t know what the problem is. I think it’s the phone. It’s the phone, because I keep calling the same number, and sometimes it goes to you, and sometimes it goes to her.”


“I think it’s the phone.” This is the most coherent I’ve ever heard him, but he still doesn’t have a very extensive vocabulary, clearly.

I decide to be friendly. “Well, I just think this is all hilarious, because I’m an opera singer, dude. My life does NOT intersect with yours at all.”

“Oh yeah? Where you at? I’ll come to you.”

Uh-oh. “Uh, no, don’t bother. I’m in Philadelphia anyway…why don’t I just hang up and then you can try the number again and hopefully you’ll get the girl you want to talk to?”

“Oh, you don’t have to hang up.”

Is this idiot trying to mack on me? “Uh, yeah, I think I should. If you call again, I’ll just let it ring through to voicemail.”

And then I hung up.

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was him. I let it go to voicemail, and this is the message he left:

6/7/2010 3:35 PM

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Hey, how you doing, buddy? This is your friend again. Wrong number, right? But how you doing? And…I’ll be talking to you, because this line don’t want to work. All right, you take care, though. Have a nice day. And, and I’m coming to Philly. I like your voice. All right, you take care, though. It keep doing that, it keep doing the same thing, I don’t know what–? Oh, shit, you might be a good-looking friend. No, let me stop there. Bye.

Oh, Wrong Number Guy: thanks for the compliment, but I really would rather you not come to Philly because I don’t want my husband to have to hunt you down for stalking me. Besides that, I don’t think you’re my type. But I am flattered…I think.

He’s called a few more times since then, but that was his last message. I have his number programmed into my phone as “Wrong Number Guy” so I don’t accidentally pick up the line. His calls have become less and less frequent, however, which is definitely a good sign. Let’s hope whatever crossed wires that led to this adventure are uncrossing themselves as we speak.


Wrong Number (part 3 of 3)
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  • No. How YOU doin’? I’ll be talking to you aight? You take care ‘dogh.

  • Jackie Dunleavy-Boyle


    Are you sure you haven’t been unwittingly cast in a Coen Brothers film titled, “Wrong Number Guy”? Somehow, I feel like a Steve Buschemi-like character must be involved in this story somewhere…

    Thanks for transcribing all this. It’s hilarious!

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