The People from Porlock

January 11th, 2009

The story goes that Coleridge composed his poem “Kubla Khan” during a dream but was awakened out of it before he finished by a “person from Porlock” knocking at his door on some stupid errand. Today, I was working steadily away on an important presentation to my bosses tomorrow, when I was interrupted by my own People from Porlock. First, I answered a phone call from a complete stranger who had tracked down my phone number on the internet and called me to solicit advice about the magazine she had started and was trying to sell to the company that bought mine. She almost asked me what they had paid me, but some vestige of manners made her stutter and hesitate. (Not enough and the stock market ate it, I wanted to yell!) On a Sunday! I don’t understand why she didn’t wait and call me at work tomorrow, but even more, I don’t understand why I didn’t say I was busy. What spinelessness afflicts me that I can’t tell people their behavior is inappropriate? Goodbye, an hour of my life.  Next, an old lover called to tell me his idea for a new magazine and pick my brain. I could watch closed-caption tv on mute while I uh-huhed at appropriate points, but it made me realize that I probably drone on about my own projects to my friends and fail to cut myself short when I can sense the mental snore from the other end of the phone. Or get caught up in a narcissistic swirl and find myself unable to tear my gaze away from my own navel. When I got over being annoyed and full of myself,  I started to wonder if these particular People from Porlock were bringing me messages from my subconscious. It’s too odd to have two calls from people out of the blue on the same day about new projects they’re starting. On a day when I’m wrestling with my own angel about what to do next with my life.

2 Responses to “The People from Porlock”

  1. Allegra Smith says:

    You just told yourself what to do, my dear.
    Don’t answer the phone. I hate phones. My son – I call the poor man, a practicing and devoted Episcopalian “my Jewish son” because of his penchant to remind me whenever he finally gets a hold of me that “Mother, you never call” – something I am sure his wife appreciates more than he does, but I digress.

    Think of the telephone as an underwear drawer.
    No one but you can decide when to open it and if someone does, being nice to them is to enable further rudeness. Get caller ID, have a man record your message to confuse the clueless like that impertinent self centered person who called about the magazine, stay away from that instrument of evil unless you are the one who makes the choice to use it. And to that I say, only for outgoing calls unless you want to talk to the person on the other end. Do you get the idea that I don’t like phones? Intrusive little dastardly things they are, you would be right. I detest phones.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it’s your “pay-it-forward” karma catching up with you …. Ba