To the gentleman who phoned me today:
Sir, thank you for your call. I appreciated hearing from you and making an appointment to meet with you later in the week. I know you were a little bemused by my careful, softly-spoken responses - but you see, I was in a library at the time, and I'm of the generation that was raised strictly to never speak above a whisper (and then only when necessary) while in a library. Granted, two other people were also talking on their phones, but perhaps they weren't trained by a grandmother whose merest glance could thoroughly silence a child no matter how excited they were at finding the latest Enid Blyton novel on the library shelves.
I probably shouldn't have answered my phone if I was unhappy talking in the library. But I don't know many woman my age who can ignore a ringing phone. That would be like saying no to someone asking for an hour of your precious free time, or a favour despite how much you have on your plate at the moment. Another grandmother of mine, if not reaching her phone before it stops ringing, will phone around everyone she knows until she finds who was the caller. (Besides, surely only a person without family could not answer a ringing phone.)
I confess, it was not really a convenient time to talk to you, as I was surrounded by a dozen strangers who could hear every word we spoke. But I've come to understand that I'm the only person in the world who has been taught to open a phone conversation with the question, "is this a good time to talk?"
By the way, I must warn you in advance that when we meet, you will be offered tea and biscuits. I recently was told by a visitor that I should not bother with such things, but both of my grandmothers would be aghast if anyone spent even a few moments in my home without being offered tea and biscuits. I hope this isn't a problem. I apologise in advance, sir, for my lack of modern manners.
Yes, I belong in one of those old Enid Blyton novels I used to love when I was small.