So, I think I've figured out what is going on with these phone calls I've been getting.
I got another one just now. Answered the phone:
“Hello, John Elliot speaking.”
Met with silence.
Become pissed off (in the calm, silent way which indicates extreme danger)
Listen very carefully for 'clues' about what's on the other side of the line.
Met with more silence.
Then suddenly, after about 6 seconds of silence, a woman says, “Hello..?”.
I was surprised. Then I say “Hello“.
Then I get the spiel: “We're from such and such [charity?] [company?] doing such and such [asking for money?] [collecting petitions?]“ and I just tune out, in relief. I wait for a millisecond of silence and interrupt with “No thank-you. Goodbye.“ such that I remain polite and give the lady on the other end an 'out' for ending the conversation politely. She takes it: “OK. Thank-you. Goodbye.“
Since this phone call started out just like all the other ones that I've been getting, I've come up with a theory:
My phone number has ended up on some phone-spammers list. They are using predictive call-out technology designed to increase their spamming efficiency. When I get calls there isn't necessarily someone on the other side of the line when I answer because there is a few seconds delay while an operator gets allocated the line. During this time there is silence.
So, I'm guessing I don't have a stalker after all. Just ended up on some spammers list, and that spammer has a cruddy predictive call-out service.