Conversational Anxiety

Conversational Anxiety

Political Telephone Solicitor: “did you know your vote counts!?”
Me: “counts for what?”
PTS: “it’s your right for change!”
Me: “ah, I keep voting, shit keeps getting worse.”
PTS: “but imagine if you didn’t vote.”
Me: “you wouldn’t call me?”
PTS: “no, how bad everything could be!”
Me: “it could be worse than this!?”
PTS: “yes! Much worse!”
Me: “well, thanks. You’ve cheered me up immensely.’
PTS: “voting is not only your right, it’s your voice!”
Me: “but no one is listening.”
PTS: “I’m listening!”
Me: “but you’re just some nutter on the phone.”
PTS: “I’m your local Democratic representative for progress!”
Me: “I’m registered Green Party.”
PTS: “oh…”
Me: “guess you’re not listening any more, huh?”

Male Voice on the Phone: “Hello, Mr. O’Neil? This is Geffen Playhouse. We’d like to invite you back for this year’s season.”
Me: “invite me back?”
MVotP: “our records show you’re a former season ticket holder.”
Me: “no, I’ve never been…”
MVotP: “yes, yes, you have.”
Me: “no, no I haven’t.”
MVotP: “I’m terribly sorry sir. Are you sure?”
Me: “well, you’re probably right. I do drink a bit, could’ve slipped my mind, and them damn Oxycontins screw up a man’s memory, make it hard to put on clothes just to leave the house. Although, I still get out, even with that pesky indecent exposure conviction from attending a performance of Rent at Pantages in 2009. Don’t see what the fuss was, just adjusting my underwear. You do have a smoking section, right? Gonna have any plays about prison sex this season? …Hello?”

TeleMarketer: “Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “maybe.”
TM: “is Mr. O’Neil there?”
Me: “why?”
TM: “I’ve a great opportunity to offer him.”
Me: “run it by me first.”
TM: “well, okay, who am I speaking to?”
Me: “why does that matter?”
TM: “just need to know who I’m talking with.”
Me: “is it required, or are you just inquisitive?”
TM: “not really comfortable not knowing.”
Me: “you’re calling me uninvited and now you’re uncomfortable?”
TM: “well, I’m…”
Me: “when someone I don’t know calls, I’m uncomfortable.”
TM: “ahhh…”
Me: “my life feels intruded upon.”
TM: “but…”
Me: “all of a sudden, my privacy gone, and it’s awkward.”
TM: “sir?”
Me: “is this where you apologize, then hang up?”
TM: “…”
Me: “hello?”

AT&T called to ask why I canceled my Internet service. It was a sad conversation. The caller and I were almost in tears, “why did you leave?” she said. “Because you weren’t giving me what I need,” I answered. “Come back, I’ll try harder,” she sighed. “It’s too late,” I whispered. “Why!!??” she wailed. “Because you suck!” I yelled. It felt like we’d been dating for years.

Bank Employee: “sir, can’t tell you exactly when your new ATM card will be delivered.”
Me: “not what I’m asking, need the tracking number so I can call.”
BE: “ok, but my records show it was to be delivered Friday.”
Me: “was here Friday, like all day, no delivery.”
BE: “UPS guaranteed a Friday delivery.”
Me: “wonderful. Still, there’s no card in my hand.”
BE: “hmm, I could recall it, then send another, only take 2 days.”
Me: “y’all canceled my card because YOU got hacked, sent a new one through a company that’s inept, left me without cash for the weekend, and now want to extend that courtesy 2 more days?”
BE: “apologies for any inconvenience.”
Me: “more than just inconvenient, it’s abusive.”
BE: “my records show you eligible for our diamond preferred card, with unlimited cash access, and bonus thank you points…”
Me: “could we stay on subject here?”
BE: “better than an debit card, plus you can make payments with %0 APR for 18 months.”
Me: “this is your best solution?”
BE: “get it to you in 5 business days.”
Me: “can I talk to your manager?”
BE: “I am the manager.”
Me: “the next sound you hear will be me blowing my brains out.”
BE: “so, is that a no on the diamond preferred card?”

Tele-Marketer: “Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “ah, no.”
TM: “you’re not Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “no, I’m not.”
TM: “is Mr. O’Neil at home?”
Me: “he might be, but this is a cell phone you’re calling.”
TM: “Oh, so who am I speaking with?”
Me: “someone annoyed you’re calling their cell phone.”
TM: “if I could, like to speak with Mr. O’Neil regarding an investment opportunity.”
Me: “I’m driving right now, you’re not only annoying, but forcing me to break the law.”
TM: “um…”
Me: “that’s all you have to say, is um?”
TM: “well, I, I, ah…”
Me: “what if I crash, burn up and die? That’s blood on your hands!”
TM: “…”
Me: “hello?”

Telemarketer: “sir, what would you say to winning a Florida sea cruise vacation?”
Me: “I’d rather you just shoot me now.”

Blocked Caller ID: “Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “ah, yes?”
BCID: “mind taking a quick survey.”
Me: “in regards to what?”
BCID: “our service people handling your issue.”
Me: “well, if they handled it, what’s the point?”
BCID: “this is for quality assurance.”
Me: “whose quality?”
BCID: “ah, ultimately yours.”
Me: “how’s annoying the fuck outta me add to my quality?”
BCID: “your input makes us a better company!”
Me: “but I had to call twice to get you to fix it.”
BCID: “yes, and we thank you.”
Me: “by calling me again to take a survey?”
BCID: “actionable feedback involves us all.”
Me: “really? And what’s your role in the scheme of things?”
BCID: “team leader for data analysis.”
Me: “team leader? Wow, I’m honored your leadership.”
BCID: “yes, I want to assure you we truly care.”
Me: “so what’s a team leader do exactly?”
BCID: “I define and evaluate our agent’s applicable skills.”
Me: “nice. So what happened that you had to call to me?”
BCID: “I’m not sure I follow you?”
Me: “um… you’re chatting the masses, why aren’t you leading?”
BCID: “well, we all put in work, regardless of hierarchal structure.”
Me: “what the hell, y’all communists down there or something?”
BCID: “you know, you could’ve just said no to the survey.”
Me: “were’s the fun in that, leader-dude?”

Unsolicited Telemarketer: “I like to take a minute to talk about your spending habits and how we could help you.”
Me: “take a minute? Since you’re already costing me sucking up my cellphone minutes, what more do you want?”
UT: “little negative today, are we?”
Me: “who are you, my mom?”

Academic Job Placement Phone Interviewer: “have you ever been arrested?”
Me: “arrested? Only arrested, not convicted?”
AJPPI: “well, yes. That is the question.”
Me: “now does that seem fair to you?”
AJPPI: “excuse me, what do you mean?”
Me: “is someone less credible because of an arrest?”
AJPPI: “ah… I’m not comprehending the issue here…?”
Me: “arrested is suspicion, nothing’s proven.”
AJPPI: “oh ok, yes, that is true.”
Me: “if you said ‘ever been convicted’ it’d make more sense.”
AJPPI: “just following protocol…”
Me: “like who hasn’t been arrested?”
AJPPI: “well, I’ve never been arrested.”
Me: “so let’s say I have, then what?”
AJPPI: “I make a notation, we continue the interview.”
Me: “has anyone ever admitted they have been?”
AJPPI: “no, not that I can recall.”
Me: “think you’d hire anyone that said yes?”
AJPPI: “ah… I’d have to confer with my colleagues.”
Me: “so, that’d be a no?”
AJPPI: “final decision would be up to the dean and faculty.”
Me: “with an arrest being the deciding factor?”
AJPPI: “ah… candidates are considered on a case by case basis.”
Me: “you do background checks then, I assume.”
AJPPI: “not necessarily, we do trust our applicants.”
Me: “well, that’s a relief.”
AJPPI: “so… ever been arrested?”
Me: “um… no?”

Unlisted Caller: “hello, Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “um… yeah?”
UC: “hi, this is Jane, from Dr. _’s office.”
Me: “um… yeah?”
UC: “it’s time for a colonoscopy!”
Me: “…”
UC: “Mr. O’Neil? Hello?”
Me: “um… yeah?”
UC: “we need to schedule you.”
Me: “really? Didn’t I just have one?”
UC: “that was well over three years ago.”
Me: “my how time flies…”
UC: “so how’s next week sound?”
Me: “a bit too impending.”
UC: “we’ve an opening for next Monday.”
Me: “don’t think I’ve an opening.”
UC: “excuse me?”
Me: “Jane, how open are you to an anal exam?”
UC: “what? Not sure I understand?”
Me: “I don’t want a colonoscopy.”
UC: “but you have to!”
Me: “really? Now how’s that going to work?”
UC: “well, we can’t force you…”
Me: “I know. Goodbye.”

Unlisted Caller: “hello, Mr. O’Neil?”
Me: “um… yeah?”
UC: “hi, this is Jane, from Dr. __’s office, again.”
Me: “uh huh, ok.”
UC: “you still haven’t scheduled your colonoscopy!”
Me: “well, I, ah…”
UC: “I’ve left several messages.”
Me: “I’ve been kinda busy.”
UC: “sir, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to get checked?”
Me: “I’m not sure ‘owe’ is the word I’d use.”
UC: “what better way is there to say I’m healthy?”
Me: “I could think of maybe a 1000 other better ways…”
UC: “aren’t you going to feel pretty silly if you have cancer?”
Me: “if I have cancer, silly will be the last thing I feel.”
UC: “this is a preventive procedure, be in the solution!”
Me: “does this sort of shaming usually work with your patients?”
UC: “usually I don’t have to chase them down.”
Me: “can’t believe I’m the only one that doesn’t want to do this.”
UC: “actually, right now we’re booked, there’s a month wait.”
Me: “a month wait!? Damn, I’m busy next month.”
UC: “you’re busy all of August?”
Me: “yup. and September’s not looking good either.”
UC: “Mr. O’Neil, I find that hard to believe.”
Me: “Jane, you’re sort of cynical, huh?”
UC: “at least I’m not delusional.”
Me: “awh, now you sound grumpy.”
UC: “it’s your health. You can die a horrendous death if you want to.”
Me: “thanks Jane, always love talking to you, bye now.”

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