Incan Pictographs and Telephones
Greetings loyal readers,
I'm still working away on our Top 50 Distributors List, making dozens of follow-up phone calls and trying to keep track of the results with about 15 hand-written, needlessly convoluted lists. God help me when I'm doing this again next year, as I'm sure I'll no longer recall why I have corresponding charts and notes in Spanish, German and early Incan pictographs. Being thorough has little to do with being logical, I suppose.
The terrible list-making isn't much of a downer though, as I'm sure I'll eventually become fluent in the German I'm writing all these notes in. My phone skills, however, are another story. Right now, they're somewhere between a nervous Oliver Twist and a wimpy ex-boyfriend who is politely begging for his rare EPs and favorite sweater back (Seriously though, Danielle, if you're reading this, it'd be really great to have my NOFX vinyls back. Please?).
In my defense, I am a writer, so it's technically acceptable, if tragically predictable, that I have the social skills of cold noodles. After all, what does knowing how to pen a fun story about ducklings and space travel using proper comma placement have to do with being a combination of Obama and Prince Charming on the phone? If you say "everything," you are a jerk.
Still, I do enough work on the phone that you'd think I'd be getting better by now. To speed along the self-improvement engine, I thought it might be a good idea to include a few phone conversations of myself trying to secure interviews with suppliers, transcribed here into the wonder-blog, so you all can read along and maybe offer up a few tips.
Conversation style #1: The Speed-mumble
ME: "Uh, hello my name ismikecornnellandI'maneditorwithhljsdhfkls, I mean hljsdhfkls, I meanIwaswonderingifklarrbockkk ohgodI'm so ...
OPERATOR: "Sir, are you okay?"
ME: Hljsdhfkls! Huh-hljsdhfkls!
OPERATOR: Hljsdhfkls? Are you that creep who's always going through our trash? I'm sure you're aware the restraining order applies to phone conversations as well. (Click).
Conversation style #2: The No-plan Meander
OPERATOR: Hello, this is Karen McReceptionist, how can I help you?
ME: ... Oh, uh, sorry. I got distracted by your hold music. Was that a Muzak version of Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill?"
OPERATOR: It was Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." With lyrics. Which sounds very little like anything by Peter Gabriel. Is there something I can help you with?
ME: Uh ... oh, yeah. See, I'm with Promo Marketing, uh, I'm an editor there? I'm working on this thing, this article thing, and I need to talk to I don't know who with you all. Do you know who I could talk to?
ME: It's like, it's about computers. Wait, what month is this? I think it might actually be about golf balls? No, yesterday was Thursday, right? Hold on, let me check my notes ... you sure that wasn't Peter Gabriel? I think I know that song pretty well. It has that "dun dun dun" part, you know that part? It's like "Dun dun dun," and you always think he's singing about strawberry fields, but it's actually Solsbury Hill?
OPERATOR: (Spoken with a still rage) Let me transfer you to someone who can help you (hangs up).
Conversation style #3: The Rehearsal
ME: Good morrow Mr. or Ms. phone attendant. I am making a formal inquiry as to whom I should request a tele-interview with at your production establishment. T'would not last more than a quarter-odd hour, as I have but minor questioning in regards to the manufacture and recommended usage of your promotional dining silver. Specifically in relation to the carving of fine and semi-fine meats, as well as meals that are similar to brunches in conceptualization?
OPERATOR: (hangs up, possibly swearing quietly under his/her breath.)
Basically, this is a decent synopsis of me on the phone. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong, because I sure don't know. Maybe I should prepare little songs, or involve more stories about ducklings in space? (Disney, call me. The ducks, they rap about the environment and finding true love. It'll be a blockbuster for the ages, I promise.)
CHARLES PLYTER FACT OF THE WEEK: Charles and I had some Perrier with lunch sometime last week. Out of context, typed out like this, it makes us seem weird. Instead of explaining the context however, I'll just say that Perrier is naturally carbonated because it comes from some magical underground source. What did you drink with lunch last week? Anything magical? No? Then it looks like Mike and Charles win again.