The Dinner Hour

Once, when the local Fred Astaire dance studio called
during the dinner hour, my mother listened to the sales pitch
for ballroom dancing lessons, then said she would have to decline
because she was in a wheelchair and “my husband better not
sign up for any dance lessons without me.”

It was a lie.

Other times, she wouldn’t tell such egregious falsehoods,
but would beg the person to quit calling at 6:00 or 6:30:
“Please. It’s the dinner hour” — as if she had no other means

to make them stop. When we asked her why she answered,
didn’t just say, “No, thank you” and hang up — or, better yet,
go on the Do Not Call registry — she protested. Telemarketers

need jobs, too, she said, and who was she to get them all fired
when a sure-footed lie could get her off the phone just as well?


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