I live in New Jersey and our Governor like most politicians has a Facebook Page. For reasons that are best visited in another post I avoid the page but sometimes I can’t help myself and I have to look. I find I’m drawn to public Facebook pages lately and I consider that a bad thing. Sometimes I drop a comment and sometimes I don’t. But given people’s animosity towards one another these days, Facebook sometimes tends to deepen my depression. When I do laugh I’m surprised but recently I had a chuckle.
Our Governor wrote on Facebook one day about “contact tracing” and the need for people to cooperate. For those who don’t know about contact tracing, in involves reaching out to the contacts of a person who tests positive for Covid-19 to let them know they may have been exposed.
I don’t go out much anyway. I am a contract worker in insurance and my work is strictly remote right now. I haven’t seen friends or relatives since February and we either order food delivery or will go food shopping once a week early on a weekday to avoid as many people as possible. Once in awhile I take the garbage to the trash chute and pick up the mail early in the morning before anyone else is up in the apartment complex. I make it a goal to avoid people in my complex, again a story for another post.
I got to thinking about my husband’s handling of telemarketers and how it would go if a contract tracer called our home phone (yes we still have a home phone mostly for telemarketers).
My husband is retired now. When telemarketers or unsolicited parties call he gives them such a runaround they terminate the conversation before he does. He has always been stubborn and somewhat ornery as a younger man but now that he is in his 60’s he is more ornery than ever. When the phone rings, I beg him to ignore it and sometimes he does listen by many times he picks up the phone anyway. I grimace and hover but it doesn’t help. If there’s a real live person on the line and not a robo call, I pity the person calling.
During one such call, a man claiming to be from our local hospital was making a pitch for a donation and my husband asked him why they need any money after they got so much from the government. Even when the man tried to explain to him that they received no government money my husband wouldn’t listen. When my husband told the man he’s retired and has no extra money the man recommended a monthly donation of $25. My husband then asked the man how his $25 monthly donation would be spent. He kept the man on the phone for a good 20 minutes going back and forth. The man was so frustrated he told my husband he had other people to call and hung up.
So after this encounter, I gave it some thought and this is how I think this would go if in fact a contact tracer or someone who claimed to be a contact tracer called here:
Tracer: “Sir, I am a contract tracer. We reach out to people who may have been in physical contact with others who have the virus as part of your Governor’s initiative to stop the spread of Covid-19. Sir, you have tested positive for Coronavirus we need to confirm who you have been in contact with”
My husband: “How can I test positive when I haven’t been tested?”
Tracer: “Oh sorry sir, a contact of yours has tested positive for Coronavirus”
My husband: “How can that be, I’m retired and I have no friends.”
Tracer: “Well we need to know who you have been in contact with.”
My husband: “Nobody”
Tracer: “Are you certain?”
My husband: “Well, there’s my wife but she doesn’t go out anymore”
Tracer: “And what’s her name”
My husband: “I’m not giving you her name. Please explain to me how this works again.”
Tracer: “Sir, I explained this to you when I first called”
My husband: “Oh I must have forgotten. My memory isn’t what it used to be please go over it again and I’ll try to pay attention”
Tracer: “Sir, we are reaching out to those who may have been exposed to the virus”
My husband: “Oh there’s still a virus? I don’t go out anymore and I stopped watching the news awhile ago, too depressing”
Tracer: “Sir, your Governor requests that you cooperate with us, it’s your civic duty”
My husband: “Oh I really don’t like my Governor, but I am cooperating you just don’t understand what I’m saying”
Tracer: “No sir you don’t understand what I’m saying”
My husband: “Oh we must have a bad connection then, I’ll hang up and you can call me back see if it’s any clearer.”
See, my husband retired last year with plans to spend most of his time enjoying his retrement and that includes fishing. He hasn’t been fishing since Covid-19 started because many of the restrictions limit people on the piers where he likes to fish. So having lively conversation with those making unsolicited calls will likely be his entertainment while it lasts.
So I feel sorry for contact tracers if they call here. Luckily we don’t go out much anymore.