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No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 12

, , , , , , | Working | January 9, 2018

(I am a territory salesman for a chemical company. I am sound asleep with my wife at just after 5:00 am and the phone rings beside the bed.)

Me: *groggily answering the phone* “Hello.”

Caller: “Hello, it’s [Caller], from [My Employer] in Toronto calling.”

Me: “Do you know what time it is?”

Caller: “Yes. It’s 8:05.”

Me: “Not in Prince George, it isn’t.”

Caller: *hesitating* “Oh… What do you mean?”

Me: *realizing the caller has no clue how the world works* “Well, you know how the sun comes up in the east and goes down at sunset in the west?”

Caller: *obviously unsure where this is leading* “Oh… Yes?”

Me: *trying to impart just a wee bit of wisdom* “Well, it hasn’t gotten here yet.”

Caller: *sounding really confused* “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, the sun may be up in Toronto, but it will be three more hours before we see it, so it’s only ten after five in Prince George.”

(The caller is either completely unaware, or disregards the fact that she has woken me from a sound sleep and by this time, my wife is sitting up in bed beside me with a very puzzled look on her sleepy face.)

Caller: “Well, while I have you on the line, can you pop by this morning to [Customer] in Prince Rupert and drop a copy of an invoice that they didn’t receive?”

Me: “Well, I can get a copy to [Customer], but it won’t be this morning. Do you realize that Prince Rupert is 500 miles from here, which is a whole day’s drive, one way? Why don’t you just fax a copy, and then I won’t have to do anything until my next trip out west?”

Caller: *sounding shocked and perhaps just starting to realize the enormity of Canada* “Oh, okay. I guess I can do that.”

(Many years later, I sometimes think of that young clerk, and imagine her hanging up the phone and sitting there stunned by the incredible knowledge that the whole world doesn’t operate on Toronto time.)

No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 11
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 10
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 9
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 8
No Fortitude For Longitude, Part 7

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