APPARENTLY I’m ex-directory.

I said this to a friend last night and she said ‘Like, in life?’

So to clarify, I don’t mean I’m ex-directory in life - surely that would mean I’m a hermit? Or dead?

What I mean is that I’m ex-directory with BT.

I must have ticked something when I set up my landline, because there’s no trace of me whatsoever in that respected of institutions - The Phone Book.

There was a time when everyone was in ‘the book’ and if they weren’t it was considered a bit weird.

You’d have heard: “Oh how bizarre, Geoffrey - their number’s not listed!”

Geoffrey would reply, in a slightly withering voice: “All I can assume, Margaret, is that one of them was being stalked.”

“Ah yes, of course,” agrees Margaret. ”It’s the only explanation.”

Now, even though people seem happy to over-share on social media, it seems quite normal to be private when it comes to giving out your number.

I blame cold callers.

Call centre staff who ring at 7am to sell you a new mobile phone, or double glazing, or to ‘ask a few questions’ which inevitably leads to a sales pitch for a new mobile phone or double glazing.

(And somehow, despite being ‘de-listed’, they still keep finding my number.)

But, at the end of the day, they’re just trying to earn a crust like the rest of us.

And as my sister discovered, when she once opened the floodgates of conversation, some just want to talk.

“I’m just doing my job - and I'm so lonely!” said a poor guy, when my sister gave him short shrift on the phone.

“I’m working all the hours I can to earn money but it means I don’t have time to meet a girl to spend the money on!”

My sister is nothing if not a sucker for a sob story.

“Ah, come on lad, chin up. Have you thought about joining a pottery class?”

Apparently she counselled him for some time, before he sniffled: “I should probably get back to work. Don’t spose you want double glazing, do you?”

So remember this tale next time you’ve been woken up, angry, at 7am.

Cold callers are people too, you know.