I have a home office. I love it. There’s no commute. I can get a couple of hours of work in while most people are still asleep. I have a secretary named “Joe,” a gofer named “Joe,” and a personal manservant named “Joe” who makes me coffee and breakfast and lunch. What a team we are. We all get along just fine. I don’t have anyone hassling me about “Rrrrr, rrrr, rrrr, your billable hours are down, rrrr rrrr rrr, what about rrrr, rrrr, and why are you on the internet again, rrrr?” Yep, it’s a sweet deal. I can do my big boy job, write a bit, do my big boy job, lather, rinse, repeat.
The only problem I have (for purposes of this discussion) is having to deal with non-work, non-personal interruptions. I have my office line and my home line in the same room. I have been getting a lot of calls on my home line because I will be turning 65 in a few short months. Yes, I know, I know, you wouldn’t expect someone of my countenance, libido, and good cheer to be that old but it is so. Here is a warning: when you are about to turn 65, everyone starts calling you to 1) tell you what’s what about Medicare and 2) sell you the exact policy that you need. I began acquiring all sorts of new imaginary friends, such as “Medigo,” “WhatsMedicare,” “Medsuppins,” “Marketplace,” and the alluring, mysterious “Name Not Found.” Ignoring them didn’t help because the phone would ring four times before sending the call to voicemail. That’s a distraction, even when you are screening your calls. And we haven’t even talked about the fine folks from the help desk at Windows Security who have detected a ‘wiwus” on my computer, or the guy who is willing to give me a free vacation if I’ll just watch a short demonstration video, or the woman who keeps calling me to ask if I’m interested in my cable company’s latest product. Uh huh. The “do not call” list?” It’s pretty much a joke. Muting the ring isn’t an option for me, either, as I have a daughter in college and a granddaughter in grade school, both of whom need me at unexpected times.
My life was changed for the better, however, when I came across an article in a newsletter from the Community Senior Center which my wife belongs to (and, no, I’m not a member. That stuff is for old people). The article touted a gentleman by the name of Aaron Foss, the designer of a called “NoMoRoBo.” Foss is GIVING this thing away. No strings, no deposits, no nothing. It’s a true public service. What it does is block robo calls — those things that dial five thousand numbers at a time — and telemarketers. You go to the “nomorobo” website, watch the very short video, click on “get started now” button, fill in the blanks, and within a day or so you’ll see results. Your phone rings once, gives a little purr, and “pfttt”…the annoying caller doesn’t even have a chance to leave a voicemail. They are gone. “Nomorobo” doesn’t work with every landline phone service, or every cell phone service provider, but it works with mine, and they’re adding more and more constantly. Oh. Oh. And. It supposedly will not block or divert political fundraisers or surveys, but I’ve had several blocked already (“Poll_Quest,” to name but one). “Nomorobo” constantly learns new numbers to block and you don’t have to do a thing, other than write your next bestseller without interruption (other than for that initial ring). And every time the phone rings once and disconnects during dinner, my wife and I look at each other, and smile.
Authors, readers, doctors (Hi Steve!) and all who fight the good fight on all fronts each day: try this out. I have absolutely no interest in this, financial or otherwise. It is free and it does work and no one puts your name or number on a mailing list, either. And Aaron Foss? I’d stand in front of a tank for him.
Having shared this marvelous invention with you, I want something in return (Aaron Foss, I am not). Please tell us: what devices do you use to give yourself privacy, and to keep yourself from being interrupted? And what is your favorite personal story that concerns dealing with telemarketers, solicitors, and the like?