So I have bad tendency to not answer the phone at my desk unless I recognize the number. This is mostly because crazy people call me a lot. And I have this one small weekly automobile section of the paper that I edit for which I get a lot of calls asking me stuff like “Hey, where can I buy a good transmission in Charlotte?” It’s awkward.
Anyway, my phone rang this afternoon and I was between tasks and had just cleaned out my voice mail so I answered. And this scratchy, older voice with a super thick New York accent says from the other end, “Hey, I’m throwing a birthday party and wanted to see if you wanted to write about it.”
Naturally, I filed this one away as crazy, but I like old people so I was like “Ok, can you give me a little more information?”
"It’s a Jay Gatsby party," he said. I yawned. Aren’t they all these days? "I’m from Long Island." No kidding, I thought.
Then, he gave me the address and added “It’s a mansion.” How very Jay Gatsby of you to tell me that, I thought.
I told him I’d give him a call back, but needed to check with the person who does our social events coverage. Then I asked who the birthday party was for, thinking that we’d basically never cover a birthday party for any of our publications. “It’s for me!” he said, as if I was crazy to ask. And then kindly asked my name and thanked me.
I got off the phone, got momentarily distracted by tweets about Obama selfies, and then decided to Google the address just for the hell of it. Turns out it’s not just “a mansion.” At 24,000 square feet on 20 acres it’s actually the largest home in the state of North Carolina. And the scratchy-voiced Arthur, who is turning 80? He grew up in the Depression sleeping in one bed with his six siblings, but made a ton of money in Manhattan real estate.
I’m going to start answering my phone more.