The number proved unusable. It received more than a hundred wrong numbers a day. Given that the number is virtually impossible to misdial, this traffic was baffling. More strange still, there was never anybody talking on the other end of the line. Just silence. Or, not silence really, but dead air, sometimes with the sound of a television in the background, or somebody talking softly in English or Spanish, or bizarre gurgling noises. Woz listened intently.
Then, one day, with the phone pressed to his ear, Woz heard a woman say, at a distance, “Hey, what are you doing with that?” The receiver was snatched up and slammed down.
Suddenly, it all made sense: the hundreds of calls, the dead air, the gurgling sounds. Babies. They were picking up the receiver and pressing a button at the bottom of the handset. Again and again. It made a noise: “Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep.”
The children of America were making their first prank call.
And the person who answered the phone was Woz.
After we had flown into the Ft. Lauderdale airport for our cruise and were walking over to pick up our shuttle to the ship, I noticed cabs that had the same number on them.
Now I wonder how many bad phone calls they get a day. I’d imagine at times it can be tough to tell a falling-down drunk from a randomly babbling baby 🙂