The other evening, I got a phone call. i didn’t recognize the number on my call display, but I answered it anyway, because, well–not many people call my landline and sometimes I get lonely for an old-fashioned, non-carcinogenic conversation, you know?
There was the tell-tale silence after i said “hello?” and then a bit of a clatter and then a man’s voice:
“hello, Mrs. G_?”
I HATE when they call me “Mrs.” that whole marital status thing. I used to kinda ‘go off’ on the sales people and survey folk and all that…but I don’t any more, I just say, “you can call me Erin”. Soon, (I hope soon–like in a year or so) i’ll ask them to call me “doc”.
Anyhow, so I said, “call me Erin”. And buddy launches into, “Yes, my name is Tam and I am calling from the Computer miantenace department and–”
I interrupted him, “Computer maintenance department of where? what company?”
He kind of sputtered to a halt. then he continuted in the same South Asian-accented monotone, “We offer maintenance —Windows 7 — other operating systems–worldwide” I missed most of it, as he was talking over my question. then he said, “Do you understand?”
Was he patronizing me?
“Okay, but I got a call like this just a couple of nights ago, I don’t have any problem with my computer”
Same monotone, no affect, I swear to you, he says to me: “Well you can just hang up the phone now and go straight to hell. Don’t waste my time.”
So I did.
But now I wonder. Was it some kind of radio show? Like, I don’t know, “wiretap” or something, and they were calling around trying to get people to be witty in the face of insult? ’cause I can totally do that. And I love talkng to telemarketers and stuff, I really do. I did that job once myself. For four hours. Longest four bloody hours of my life just about. Well, there was the Greyhound ride from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay with the drunk guy sitting next to me, “awww, don’ go t’sleep, you got such beyootiful eyes…”. Jesus wept. That was longer than four hours anyway, and among the longest hours of my life…Anyway, so, i often pick up the phone, even when I know it’s a telemarketer, because, hey! I bet they’re lonely. And they always sound so relieved to talk to someone who’s not haning up on them or swearing.
Not this guy, though. He just sounded flat. Like maybe he was reading from cards, and he got the cards mixed up and instead of reading what his next line was supposed to be, he read “possible responses from client”, and read what my response might have been.
So maybe he was representing some kind of “Candid Camera” thing but on the phone, and it was my chance to be famous.
Dammit. Blew it again.
I did have another call like that the day before, but the guy that day was nice. He said, “we’re following up on your computer problems”–and when i said I don’t have computer problems (I’m a bit incompetent with them, is all), he kind of chuckled and said goodnight. Maybe i’ll have another chance.