The other night my phone rang. The caller ID said some state I don’t ever get calls from, so I knew what was going to happen when I picked up the phone. I didn’t have much time, but I answered anyway.
“Hello, I am calling from Windows Technical Support. My name is Daniel,” the caller said with a very slight Indian accent.
“Oh, hi, Daniel.” I said, pausing for a second to think of a name. The last project manager I worked with was a nice guy named Naim, who had emigrated from India to Minnesota. So I stole his name. “My name is Naim.”
Long awkward pause. I grinned. Too bad “Daniel” couldn’t see me.
“Your name is Naim,” he said. His sarcasm and disbelief was so thick it was bulletproof.
“Yes Daniel, my name is Naim,” I said pleasantly, making no effort whatsoever to disguise my midwestern accent. I’ve lived my whole life in Missouri and Ohio.
Finally Daniel recovered enough to return to his script. “Do you have a computer?” he asked.
“What kind of computer?” I asked.
“A Windows computer that is running slow?” he offered.
“No, my computer runs Linux,” I said.
“Your computer ran away?” he asked disbelievingly. I think my accent not sounding like a guy named Naim ought to sound was getting to “Daniel.” Or maybe a combination of me messing with him about his name and saying things that aren’t on his script. Like mentioning Linux. Still, this statement was bizarre. Even more bizarre than a Missouri native of Scottish and English descent claiming to be named Naim. I can change my name if I want to. A computer can’t grow legs, no matter how much it wants to.
Recovering quickly, I said, “Yes, my computer ran away like a dog.”
“Your computer ran away with your wife?” he asked.
Low blow, “Daniel.” Low blow. Not nice.
“No. My computer runs Linux. It’s an operating system.” Then, since I was running out of time, I went to my go-to line to end these conversations. “You might want to learn something about it if you want to advance beyond a helpdesk.”
“Thank you for your time,” “Daniel” said.
At the end of the call, my oldest son looked at me. “Da-ad! Why were you lying to that person?” he asked.
“Because he was lying to me,” I said.
At least I didn’t tell him my name was Suchita. If I’d had more presence of mind, I would have stolen her name instead of Naim’s. Next time I will.