Phone rings; it’s a caller asking to speak to my wife who is out of the house just now. I can tell it’s the nice lady from the hospital or such like, just by the accommodating tone of voice. I explain that Maria is not in just at the moment. The caller says
“it’s important please could she have Maria’s mobile number.” I say, “well, who is it calling?” the caller says, “it’s personal”. I say, “well ok, don’t tell me what it’s about, just tell me who it is calling and I’ll give you her number, I mean are you from a BT Call centre, or maybe a market research person or maybe a caller from the hospital”. “I can’t do that It’s personal”.
This is staring to get annoying, I mean the caller clearly thinks that on the basis of a medical record she has more “personal” rights than I do, despite being married to Maria for 26 years. Why should I give a private number to a complete stranger on the basis that “it’s personal”. I try to reason,
“Let me make this very simple; tell me that you’re not a sales person, but a caller from say the hospital or such like, and I’ll give you her number”.
The caller irritated by my impudence decides I’m probably an abusive wife batterer and hangs up. The march of the individual over the couple, family, group continues on, and at the risk of becoming a grumpy old man, I find it destructively stupid. I understand that a person’s private medical records should be private, but for goodness sake, it’s safe to say, it’s the dentist calling, or the hospital or the vet.
Next I’ll be judged as an overbearing idiot for even suggesting that I am a husband of a wife, or a father of a child, or a son of a mother. Imagine the audacity of even suggesting that by virtue of actually taking part in voluntarily entered into marriage vows that somehow 26 years later that could mean something. Well by law it does so why won’t a hospital caller give any recognition that in the life of my wife I mean something.
In my view the lady from the hospital should have asked me who I was in relation to my wife, “her husband” I would have said. She could then have said, “well I can’t discuss her details, but it is the hospital calling”. Fine I would have said. But instead we get the impression that I might as well be the window cleaner or a serial rapist. Not funny – actually a very sad indictment on our modern individualist lives.