Calling Is Sadly Her Calling

, , , , | Right | February 22, 2020

(The library has several regular callers: senior citizens who are lonely and just want to talk, sometimes for half to three-quarters of an hour. These folks are really good at ignoring any and all hints that we need to get on with our jobs. This lady is one of these customers. She calls once or twice a week to ask about famous celebrities’ biographies or about something she has seen on TV and wants to know more about. She’s very sweet but terribly chatty and “no” just isn’t in her vocabulary.)

Caller: “I am calling you because I am concerned.”

Me: “What are you concerned about, [Caller]?”

Caller: “There’s the cutest little corner store a block from me and I call over there now and then to talk to the owner and his wife.”

(She continues on in a lengthy, rapid-fire description of the husband and wife, their ethnicity, their business, and how she got to know them, before taking a breath to add:)

Caller:Anyway, I have been trying to call them all morning and there’s no answer. I know they are open because I called and spoke to [Wife] earlier.”

Me: “Okay.”

Caller: “But now they aren’t picking up and I am really worried because they are—” *another long explanation about their ethnicity, how long they have been in the country, and how innocent they are* “—and they might have been held up and robbed or killed!”

(I know exactly where this is going because my colleagues and I go through stuff like this with her constantly.)

Me: “I am sure things are fine, [Caller]. Maybe they are on the phone or maybe someone knocked it off and—”

Caller: “No, no. I am not getting a busy signal. I know something has happened. Please, can’t you call the restaurant next to them and have them check? I don’t know the number for the store or I would call myself.”

(From experience, I know that getting her the number for the next-door restaurant is not going to resolve the issue. I know the area — it’s not far from where I live — so I tell her I will call the store and ask them to check and get back to her. So, I call the restaurant and explain the situation; I can hear the owner rolling her eyes and laughing.)

Owner: “Oh, we know her. She only thinks she doesn’t know our number, but I can understand why you called. She gets confused. Hang on a minute.”

(There’s silence for a few minutes and then the owner picks up again. She is cracking up.)

Owner: “Oh, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! They are there. They haven’t been mugged. The store is actually closed today for inventory. They took the phone off the hook. Want to know why?”

Me: “I can guess, but tell me anyway.”

Owner: “They took the phone off the hook because they cannot get the inventory done with [Caller] calling them every half-hour to chat. Those two kids are losing their minds.”

(We talk a few minutes more and hang up. I call the lady back and tell her the following:)

Me: “Everything is okay, [Caller]. They are closed for inventory today and they took the phone off the hook because too many people were calling and interrupting them from getting their job done.”

Caller: *in righteous indignation* “That’s terrible! Those poor young people are trying to make their business work and people just won’t leave them alone!”

(I wish I could say this was the only over-the-top request. She made us jump through hoops at least once a week. The day of the Boston Marathon Bombing, I found myself searching for the name of her nephew in California. His mother, the caller’s sister, lived in Boston at the time and the caller was upset because she couldn’t get her sister on the phone to find out if she was okay. The sister, as it turned out, was three states away and her home was nowhere near where the marathon was being run! We got the number of the caller’s nephew and she called him and he told her everything was fine and to quit worrying!)

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The Customer Salespeople Dream Of

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 21, 2020

(My boyfriend and I are downstairs at my family’s house when my brother calls down to say that a friend of his will be coming over and ask if we could let him in. About five minutes later, there’s a knock at the door and my boyfriend goes to answer it, though he’s still mostly focused on his phone.)

Visitor: “Um, hello, I’m–”

Boyfriend: “Hey, yeah, come on in. Just through here.”

Visitor: “Oh…” *hesitates* “All right, I guess.”

(He follows my boyfriend through to the kitchen and, just as he’s about to call up to my brother, my boyfriend turns to actually look properly at the guy he’s invited in.)

Visitor: “Hi, so, I’m here to talk to you about the great work that [Cancer Charity] is doing.”

(My boyfriend freezes, suddenly noticing that this guy is in uniform with a clipboard and realising his mistake. He’s pretty socially awkward normally, so he’s really not sure what to do.)

Visitor: *continues spiel*

Boyfriend: “Um… I thought–”

Visitor: *continues spiel*

Boyfriend: “Uh, I guess I can afford that…”

(And that’s how my boyfriend not only accidentally signed up to a monthly charity donation out of sheer embarrassment but also was too socially awkward to call and cancel the donation despite being a poor student who really couldn’t afford it.)

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Adam Sandler: Uncut (Gems)

, , , , , | Working | February 21, 2020

(At our local arthouse theater, the manager gives a little spiel before the film starts.)

Manager: “And on our other screen, we’re showing [Film], a rare drama starring Adam Sandler. Sandler says if this film isn’t nominated for best picture, he’s going to go out and produce the worst film he can possibly make.”


Manager: “Of course, he’ll probably do that no matter what’s nominated.”

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That’ll Do Snake… That’ll Do

, , , , , , | Right | February 21, 2020

(I am part of the education staff at a zoo, and when our story takes place, I am handling a friendly, relaxed little milk snake so that visitors can pet her. It’s been a pretty slow day, and the area I’m stationed in is mostly empty. Suddenly, this tiny old woman rounds the corner, dressed in a colorful suit and jaunty hat. She’s using a walker and has to be somewhere in her 80s. When she sees me, more specifically when she sees the milk snake wrapped around my arm, she hesitates.)

Me: “Would you like to pet her? She’s a milk snake so she’s non-venomous, and she’s very gentle.” 

Old Woman: “Will she hurt me?”

Me: “Well, she’s been handled and pet dozens of times and she’s never hurt anyone.”

Old Woman: “Okay… I’ll try it.”

(She proceeds to march up to me and listens very carefully as I explain the proper way to pet the snake. Then, ever so cautiously, she reaches out and gives the milk snake a pet. Her eyes light up. She tries again, more confidently this time. Then, she looks me straight in the eye.)

Old Woman: “I am eighty-three years old and this is the first time I’ve touched a snake.”

(She proceeded to do a victory fist-pump and went on her way. It’s always stuck with me because, in less than two minutes, her entire worldview on snakes seemed to shift. Job well done, little milk snake, job well done.)

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That Takes A Lot Of Balls

, , , , , | Healthy | February 21, 2020

(I have to visit the hospital due to a wave of nausea that was bad enough to keep me from going to work. The doctor decides to have an ultrasound done on my abdomen to check for anything that may be causing it. The radiologist doing the scan is a rather gorgeous girl that looks like she’s in her mid-20s.)

Me: “I have to ask. What’s the weirdest thing anyone’s ever asked you while you do this?”

Radiologist: “You’re not gonna believe this. Sometimes I have to do ultrasounds on guys’… um… testicles, and in the middle of it, they start asking me if I’m seeing anyone, or if I wanna go out, things like that.”

Me: “Wait. They’re having ultrasounds done on their balls and they think they have a shot?

Radiologist: “Yeah. And it’s always the ones who need them scanned, too. It’s never the ones who need their chest or anything else scanned; it’s always the ones who need their testicles scanned. Maybe it’s because my hand has to be… you know, down there to do the scans.”

Me: *laughs* “Ever been tempted to tell them, ‘You know I’m taking pictures of something that might not be working, right?’”

Radiologist: *bursts out laughing*

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