Last month I had the pleasure of being phone-jacked. And, as part of my mission to experience everything life and dating has to offer, I thought I would explain what this fresh horror of modern human interaction involves.
I'm at a dive-y club in east London, fagging in the prison-yard smoking area when a possibly-interesting-then-rapidly-creepy guy appears. He's got an irritating transatlantic drawl and, after asking me where I like "to party", got stuck into the "What do you do?" chat:
"Yeah, but what do you really do?" he says, not going away, when I tell him I'm a writer.
And so begins one of those if only I could flash forward like Scott Bakula in 'Quantum Leap' to see how this unfolds experiences.
Because I'm too nice/idiotic/inebriated, I entertain him just a bit too long. I listen as he waffles on about his life and his own long-held ambition to write a dangerously ambitious book. He talks about "his crew". Of which he has several. Like he's in the mafia. Then, his weird friend says he is leaving, presumably to join the rest of their Hackney-based crew, but he stays, because he's enjoying boring me too much.
This carries on until a friend rescues me, prompting him to realise that this magic must end now and not with me and him in a taxi together. But his phone has died. And his crew is no longer there. What do I do? I lend him my phone, don't I? So he can call his stupid crew. What does he do? He dials his number from my mobile in order to steal my "digits". Without asking. As discreet – but certainly not as welcome – as The Milk Tray Man, trained to creep up on women in the dead of night.
At 1am on Wednesday, the phone rings and a name I don't recognise pops up. Wha... Him. Wednesday 9pm – the name again. Thursday 3pm, Thursday 7pm... Here he is again, not going away. Then Friday comes... and only silence. Good. Maybe he's got the message.
Saturday, I'm lying on my teenage bed at my parents' when my mum appears, holding aloft my iPhone and, cheery as hell, shrills: "It's xxxx".
Now I'm trying to compute a number of mind-bending things: mum's successfully answered my iPhone for the first time; she's also perfectly pronounced an unusual name she's never heard before; she's – no she's not, has she? I'm waving my arms like I'm drowning and furiously shaking my head. Then, without lowering her loud northern voice even one bit, she says, "But I've told him you're in now".
Like he's on the landline and she hasn't just answered MY mobile to someone who is, let's face it, probably a drug dealer. Just say no, kids.