Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What? What? What?

I got a phone call yesterday from a recruiter.

At least, I think it was a recruiter.

I’m pretty sure it was.

One would ordinarily be able to tell such things. But this particularly Friend to the Industry had both an accent so thick you could use it to insulate your house and…he mumbled.

I hate it when people mumble. Especially when they’re leaving long messages on my voicemail.

“Hi Tagackleburble, this {inaudible} from the {inaudible} I’m calling because {inaudible} {inaudible} {inaudible} in SQL and {inaudible} please call if {inaudible} for Saturday [Saturday? did he say Saturday? WHY did he say Saturday?!] and {inaudible}. OK? Thank yooooooooou! My number is {inaudible} OK, goodbye.”

Those of you who have endured ‘live’ conversations on the phone or otherwise with me are undoubtedly, at this very minute, laughing your BUTT off, pointing at the screen and shrieking, “YOU, complaining about people mumbling?! YOU mumble worse than ANYTHING on the phone! GOD! It’s HORRIBLE!!”

Yes, I know. I mumble. This is due to two main things: one, half the time I’m not talking to you at all – I’m thinking out loud. And the other is that, in spite of the fact that people around me are straining to hear me, stuffing hearing aids into their ears and so forth in a (vain) attempt to listen, I often feel like I’m shouting. So, I try to make myself be quiet.

For about half of my natural life (and probably some of my unnatural life, too), The Lady My Mother has turned to me during conversations and said, “Can’t you hear how LOUD you are?! Please, stop shouting and speak normally!”

Over the years, I’ve become paranoid about shouting. I’m always afraid that I’m shouting at people. I don’t mean to shout at people. I don’t want to shout at people.

So I try to keep the volume down to a “normal” level.

Which apparently translates to mumbling.

Because for the other half of my (un)natural life, The Lady has rolled her eyes at me and said, “You’re mumbling again, HEAVENS, you’re as bad as your FATHER! Speak up! And don’t slouch like that, you’re giving me a backache!”

Ah, mothers.

But I do have this one thing going for me: unlike my Friend to the Industry (I think I like that title), I do not use the telephone as a major part of my daily life. In point of fact, I avoid the phone whenever possible. In spite of hearing tests proving that I can hear just fine, I’d swear that I’m about three-quarters deaf when it comes to the danged phone. I can’t hear you. I can’t understand you. I feel like I spend half the conversations either saying, “What?” or trying desperately to pretend I heard you just fine because I don’t want to say “What?” yet again. (Same thing happens at parties or in train stations or anywhere else where there is a lot of noise and distraction. Maybe it’s just ADD. Maybe I just need a pill…or two…or twelve…)

Fortunately, my Friend also sent me an email. Ah. Yes. Now that – I can understand.

And, BTW, thank you very much for considering me but no. I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past the 24/7 rotating on-call thing. Been there. Done that. Always found that, mysteriously, in spite of it not technically being “my” rotation and so forth and so on…mine was the pager that beeped. Mine was the sorry behind being dragged into the stupid office at 2:15 on a Sunday morning-after-the-night-before to flip a stupid switch on the stupid server so the stupid database could reset its stupid self because of a memory leak or a rat-chewed cable or because some idjit had tried to play Super Nuke-Em Monkey Z-Ball XII on the server box.

Ah yes. Those were the days. {mutter mumble gurble blech mutter mutter sigh}

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