It starts innocently enough. A deferential query from a remote acquaintance, in continuation with an interaction you initiated. One that you have known long enough to converse with at ease. The polite tone, suitably apologetic, when its queries are answered in the negative. Your eyebrows, only slightly raised, when, in a few days, an acquaintance of the acquaintance apparently, poses similar but different queries on your mobile device. This time, the negative response questioned. You reckon the cause to be confusion caused by your inability to have made your response clear, and move on. After all, through the history of civilization haven’t miscommunications been the cause of a great deal of strife.
But then, soon after, you hear the same query, this time, from someone you know for sure you don’t know. You think maybe they erred in the initiation of making contact, that maybe they were seeking one of their own. But then you hear the sound of your name. And even you, in your naivete, can not think this to be a mis-placed digit connecting to your mobile device. But it gets worse. Even before you’ve dusted yourself off, you hear the same chimes. You take no action, except to turn down the chimes, so the connection is never made, and things can go back to normal. But then it repeats itself. Over and over. Till you recognize the misshapen set of digits, as they flash, with an urgency that seems to tell you that the sooner you deal with it the better. That, while they are seeking to make contact, others, you need to communicate with are being turned away disappointed. They are natural predators. Hunting in packs. When one set of digits gets familiar, another one joins the hunt. Constantly keeping you guessing, off balance.
You now constantly live in fear, in the middle of work, during lunch, in meetings, everytime your hear it. Is it them? But man is nothing if not resilient. It takes time, but it happens. You prepare yourself, you dig deep, you deal with each of them, matching them, for patience, for tenacity, for sheer gall. Noting the set of digits, making copious notes. You realise you can’t slay the beast, but at least you can cage it.
But you under-estimated them, their abilities, nay, their powers. As you instinctively react to the completely different harmless chimes of your desk apparatus. Expecting input on the document you’re working on, prepared for anything but…”Sir, I’m XXXXX from XXXX bank. We want to offer you a credit card….”. You freeze. You can run….but you can not hide….from telemarketers.