I just got a phone call a few minutes ago, in my home, from a fellow who sounded a bit agitated.

“Is this Dave?”

“Yes it is, who’s this?” I usually don’t give out info without finding out the nature of the call.

This morning’s caller sounded like one of my friends, kind of.

“Dave the painter?” he demanded?

“Well, yes, in some circ—”

Sometimes a person will punch in a wrong number and get me by accident, and in their confusion they’ll ask “Who is this?” My favorite response is, “Well, I can’t tell from here. I can’t see you.” There’s usually a bit of silence before they explain.

“Is this your white truck parked in front of me?” he cut in.

“Um… where are you?” I asked as I went to the kitchen window only to see a calm, empty street in front of my home.

“I’m in San Jose, just ready to enter Sunnyvale… I’m trying to find the sonuvabitch that just cut me off the road, and there’s a truck in front of me with “Dave the Painter” on it.

“No, that’s not me. I’m not in a white truck. I’m in my kitchen. And I don’t own a white truck.”

Whew! I was able to talk him down to calm, but, man! sometimes the confusion about how to explain to people what I do can be dangerous. “I’m an artist” is way too vague. “I’m a painter” often results in gratuitous requests for a quote for three rooms and the garage. “I paint people” sounds like a performance piece for a warehouse art gallery opening in San Francisco.

I told him I paint portraits, not houses.

I hope he feels better, soon. It must have been a let down to reach a gentle paint-pusher on the phone in his kitchen making coffee.