Sorry, Wrong Number…

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

I had just finished chatting with a well-known professor of international relations and security studies when my phone rang. Thinking he’d called back to ask a follow-up question, or to remind me of something, I immediately picked up the phone before the second ring. It was not to be. It was not him. It was not a voice I was familiar with. But instead, it was a female’s voice, and had simply called the “wrong number.” I don’t know anyone who has never dialed a wrong number. If you own a phone, sooner or later, you will call a wrong number.

Calling the wrong number can be amusing or embarrassing; it can also lead to pleasant encounters or unexpected friendship. In this instance and on this particular night, the telephonic encounter turned out to be pleasant and fruitful even though it cost me almost two hours of sleep. The conversation went something like this:

Caller: Hello, this is Amanda, is Williams there?

Me: Williams? What number are you trying to reach?

Caller: 202- 518-XXXX

Me: Oh, I am sorry; this is 202-518-XXXX…this is my place and my number

Caller: I am so sorry….I got the last digit wrong. I am sorry to have bothered you

Me: That’s ok…don’t worry…It wasn’t a bother…goodnight!

Caller: Aahhhh you speak with an inflection, sweet and soft…the Bahamas?

Me: No, not at all. I am an African, a Nigerian.

Caller: A Nigerian?

Me: Yes, I am a Nigerian…

Caller: Whao, two of my neighbors are Nigerians

Me: Really, where about are you calling from?

Caller: I live in Minneapolis, but currently vacationing in Norman, Oklahoma

Me: You must be kidding me…

Caller: Why is that?

Turns out I lived in the same neighborhood as hers when I lived in Minneapolis. I also happen to know Norman, Oklahoma very well. And so we went on and on and on and on about people and places and events and leisure pursuits and all that. We also touched on relationships and heartbreaks. And then she went away for three or four minutes to get a cup of coffee. I too took time off to get a bottle of water. When we resumed our conversation, she asked: “are you married or seeing anyone?” To which I responded, “No, I am not married…what do you mean by ‘seeing someone'”? I wanted the clarification because, well, I have two female “friends with benefits.”

She clarified her question. And I answered “No!” She chucked and then murmured: “By the way, what’s your name…and why in heavens name won’t you marry one of your “friends with benefit?” I answered the second question first before telling her my name. Then, there was silence. A deafening silence! Thinking the phone malfunctioned or that we were being disconnected, I kept repeating “hello…hello…hello are you there?” “Yes, yes, I am here…this is such a small world…you are Sabella? Are you for real? You are not kidding me, are you?

What followed was a barrage of questions about my essays — not my political commentaries, but about my social and anthropological commentaries — on sex, marriage, relationships, death, growing old and so on and so forth. The conversation was about to conclude when she asked: “Sabella, what type of woman are you looking, for marriage?” And so I reeled off my requirements:

Age: Between 29 and 39

Political Leaning: Liberal

Level of Education: At least a BA (prefers MA or PhD or equivalent)

Religion: Agnostic or Atheist

Worldview: Internationalist

Body Type: Commensurate with height.

Height: Between 5.8” and 6.8”

Race/Nationality/Ethnicity: Open…Open…Open

Hobbies: Open

Skills: Open

Previous Marital Status: Open (with or without kids)

$$$$ Issue: Must not be swayed by the pursuit of money and material possessions

When I was finished, she asked: “Aside from your writing ability, what else would you bring to the table?

I spent the next 7-10 minutes tendering my “qualifications, characteristics and attributes.”

“Okay, let me get back to you on Monday,” she said.

I am waiting for Monday…

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8 comments September 26, 2006 - 7:15 pm

Sabella you go burn! Na only you fit pick up woman wit wrong number conversation…LOL…anyway…you get game.

Sabella Abidde September 25, 2006 - 6:18 pm

There are different definitions for the word. But generally, a close friend of the opposite sex with whom you have reciprocal sexual attraction and acts upon it whenever it suits both of you; however, there is an agreement to the effect that you will go your separate ways, or at least the sex will stop, if and when you both find you true love. Other than the sex, you may also engage in other social activities. This is a step above bootycall.

dagogo September 25, 2006 - 5:33 pm

witty piece,fascinating as .it is racy,sadly it came to an abrupt's power lies in the sincerity of the writer as he espouses a mature,uncommon vision in an age of crass materialism holding his head up…

Kola September 25, 2006 - 1:43 pm

Waoooo…this is atrticle is interesting and imaginable…….cudos to the writer of this….keep it up

chichi September 24, 2006 - 11:10 am

You're Waiting for Monday… Am Waiting for Monday! Keep us posted please.

Godwin Kwushue September 23, 2006 - 3:25 pm


Please kindly throw more light on this statement "I have two female "friends with benefits"

You be African Man Original

Emercus September 23, 2006 - 1:02 pm

dat was a nice piece and I've learnt so much from it… keep up da good work a s we look forward to monday 4 da full gist.

Warriboi September 22, 2006 - 6:50 pm


you be yeye man o.


Minwhile,make you give us the gist when monday reach o,cos i like the line of yarn wey you dey drop so

sleep well and dream not of monday…lol


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