As unfamiliar digits flash up on the tiny LED screen of my desktop handset at work on Thursday morning, I answer the phone formally with my job title and first name, expecting a call from yet another backpacker with a European accent asking how to participate in (or rather, recklessly donate their bodies to) clinical trials, for as uninformed and mistaken as they are, we’ve been getting a lot of those calls lately. With our stock standard generic reply ready in my mind, I am taken slightly aback by a different query altogether unrelated to our work from a young lady with a faint yet still-identifiable, shaky and nervous tone. She asks if ‘Lucy’, my mother’s name, is there, to which I reply “no”. I clarify her target by offering the full name, “Lucy Bee?”, to which she agrees.
This being the first time anyone has ever called my work number asking for my mother, I ask this mysterious lady why she is after my mother and what the call is in relation to, to which she meekly replies “Solar panels…but that’s okay, I’ll check with reception”, before hurriedly hanging up the phone abruptly, leaving me with grand suspicions. “Reception?” I think to myself. “Solar panels??” Likely story.