I missed a call to my mobile phone this evening, and was puzzled by the prefix: +21. Never heard of that country! I thought. After some searching, I discovered that +21 is the international code for the Maghreb countries, and that +212 specifically is Morocco.

Obviously a wrong number, I thought.

Until just now, when I received a call.

“Salaam alaikum.”
—“Alaikum salaam. Sorry, I don’t speak Arabic.”
Arabic follows. I don’t, naturally.
—“Est-ce que vous parlez le Français?” Perhaps he speaks French, given the history of the place.
Apparently not. He says something else. Then, “¿Español?”
—“Solo un poco.”

I went on to explain that it was a wrong number in my broken Spanish, but he was convinced that I knew something about “Seebel”. I didn’t, and eventually had to hang up on him.

He called me back again a few minutes later. I just said, “Sorry, I don’t speak Arabic, I don’t know who you are, and you have the wrong number. Goodbye.” And switched off my phone in case my tone of voice failed to convey the message.

I hope I never get arrested as a suspected terrorist. Receiving calls from Morocco would be bound to count against me...

I don’t know why, but I often seem to get wrong numbers in random languages.

—“好. Sorry, I don’t speak Chinese.”


Is this some kind of Bruce Almighty kind of thing; has my phone number been advertised as a hotline to the Lamb of God in a Hispanic hit movie? I mean, I’m great, I know, but not as big as John Lennon, let alone Jesus. And I don’t do lepers. Despite the obvious comic potential, I’m disappointed to have to report that there were no follow-up calls for Jesus, Mary, or the bearded guy himself. Shame.