I answered my phone first thing this morning to the voice of a woman apologizing for calling but still wanting to talk but concerned because she tried to talk to one of my partners and he said she needed to talk to me so here she is and now can we talk and can I please talk because she’s upset and she doesn’t know who I am or if she’s in trouble. This was all crammed into a half breath with words tumbling out of her mouth willy nilly. So I gave her what I feel was a reasonable response, “can you hold for a moment?” I checked my email, sipped my coffee and then picked the phone up and said “Okey dokey. Take a breath and let’s try that again.” She was still pretty wound up so I cheerfully suggested we just catch up later when she had figured out why she was calling me. Well that wigged her out completely. Worried she was going to have a heart attack or something, I stayed on the line. Plus, it’s kind of like a train wreck-I just couldn’t turn away.
This woman definitely has a name, and said it several times, but I never caught it. I never quite caught the name of her company either. Her company, she told me, does “like IT stuff or whatever”. Well, that narrows it down. Thank goodness she clarified by saying “like the innovative kind of stuff, you know?” Oh, I know. She said that she had called a partner at my firm and he seemed kind of annoyed and she didn’t know why. Well, that will have to remain one of the great mysteries of the world. He told her to call back and ask for me. “Are you his supervisor?” Sure, why not, let’s just go with it. I’m guessing he will be very surprised to find that he now reports to me. She cheered up considerably, “oh, so you will actually be able to help me!” You don’t expect me to walk away from that do you? Really? So I said “I don’t know, it seems like you need a lot of help and honestly I’m not that helpful” Well that finally did it, silence. I cleared my throat and suggested that perhaps we should say our tearful goodbyes and move on with our lives.
The woman had two speeds-talking all at once about everything in random order—or saying nothing at all. She went back to her first mode and said all I needed to do was say that I would meet with her boss about IT stuff and everything would be, like, totally awesome. After a full split second of consideration, I said no. Well, what I said was, “we actually do like law stuff or whatever here and that keeps us all pretty busy” In fact, I told her, lowering my voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “between you and me that IT stuff or whatever is super confusing so I don’t like to talk about it”
She was delighted. “O-M-G me too!” We were kindred spirits; I was touched. By then I’d blown at least 10 minutes on this, and she was such an easy mark that I was just getting bored. So I told her I really wanted to talk more, but I had to do like, stuff. I promised I would return her call as soon as I was prepared to like, talk about IT stuff, and everything.
I wonder if she realizes I never asked for her contact information. Or whatever.