Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bloody phones

I think my hate affair with phones began at RJ's the Rib Joint. This was the first job I was ever fired from. I wanted desperately to be a waiter, the place was fabulously busy, but had to start as a host and work my way up. My day of training included learning table numbers and stations and memorizing the greeting to be used when answering the telephone. It was very important, I was told, it was never to be forgotten, they said. Good afternoon and thank you for calling RJ's the Rib Joint, home of the amazing all you can eat Sunday Brunch Bash at only 10.95 per person, how can I help you? Most people who called tried to interject before you were done spitting it out, so it became clear that saying it as fast as possible was paramount. Sometimes people laughed. We weren't supposed to laugh about it.

At the Ritz Carlton, it was "How may I assist you?" Using refined language is their trademark, so okay becomes of course, and problems become opportunities. This is where I learned that some people can be hateful beasts on the phone, feeling free to berate the faceless person on the other end of the line. "I said Dubernay, not Dubernoy - you don't hear so well do you?"

Once I had a semblance of a permanent residence, the sales pitches began. I made more than one cry after blowing up at them. "What kind of a person are you? How can you spend your life this way, calling and taking advantage of people and disturbing them. Did I ask you to call? Do I know you? What a piece of human sewage you are!" Then tears. I feel bad about it now. Sort of.

As a manager at Spaghettini, I was required to carry a device that would render me reachable at all times. I enjoyed working for them and opted for cell phone instead of pager. Wouldn't you know it, but that darn thing rang at the most inopportune times. I'm in the bathroom and it rings. Shower? Rings again. Having a flying dream and being taken out of it by that thing, priceless. But this is where I learned the crux of it. It is to make yourself reachable.

Sure, I can hear everyone saying, "No, I don't even keep mine on, I only use it when I need it. Just in case. You know, something bad happens." Yeah, and then a few days later, you'll say, "I'll have my cell phone on so we can coordinate." Uh huh. Big convenience you say? Another hunk of metal to lug around with you, and another thing to worry about losing, recharging and paying. I don't know, call me old fashioned, but the pay phone is pretty darn convenient and costs very little.

I have always paced while talking on the phone. I do not pace at any other time. What can be surmised from this behavior? Before cordless came along, I bought the long 25' cords from Radio Shack so that I had ample pacing clearance. And cordless was marvelous, I could pace even longer paths. The whole missing component of body language and facial expression makes telephoning a dull substitute for the real thing. Even writing is better, getting to say everything you want to say in one breath and then, at your leisure, reading any replies. You have time to articulate better, and really say what you want to say. How many times have you gotten off the phone and said, "Shit, I forgot to ask them about..." - that doesn't happen with letters.
Now, I have the caller display and I just don't answer any unknown numbers. Some of my loved ones choose to prohibit the transmission of "who they are" and the display simply reads "private" when they call. I am a little flummoxed by this decision to hide one's identity, I mean aren't you going to identify yourself as soon as who you're calling picks up?


Clearly, your host is, oh what's the word, bitchy?, cranky? cantankerous? anuslike? Ok, I admit it, not in the most loving and peaceful place right now. Maybe it's the heat. It seems that we went from the 50's to the 80's overnight, and we've had hot and humid weather for days now. It was still 80 degrees when I went to bed last night and sleep came in sweaty, fitful bursts. People all over town seem rankled and hot-tempered. We want to complain about the heat, but to do so would appear hypocritical since whining about the cold finished just last week.

And so, I apologize and give you this picture below taken at dusk. My heart soared while watching the evening sky yesterday, the creamy pinks and oranges blending with the cotton candy cloud forms. Not much of a story there, but thought you'd like to know that my panties are not in a wad 100 percent of the time.

looking southeast, at dusk Posted by Hello


Rebekah said...

A friend of mine once said, "my phone is for my convienence, not anyone else's." He often didn't pick up the phone.

My mom is classic for getting annoyed if I don't have my cell phone with me, and she can't get ahold of me. Although, she says she never has hers turned on unless she's calling someone so the battery doesn't wear down. Because she doesn't know to charge it every night? Gah. That's my own blog.

Anyway, the reason I have my number on private is that I call student's parents from home sometimes, and I certainly do NOT want them calling me here.

Em said...

I think there is a great piece in there on the willingess of uppermiddle class people to descend to beastly levels when they know they are talking to someone "beneath" them. Of course I'm a darned liberal class warfare fighter so ...

Also your thing about how you can't complain about the heat cracked me up. An entire city held in emotional captivity by the long and dreary winter. So true.

ufos8mycat said...

Dude, ya gotta get phone therapy. It worked for me. Now I just pick up the phone and say "FUCK YOU!" and hang up.

They don't call back???

Great blog.