7.20.2007

Virginia is for Haters

Ok, maybe not everyone who lives in Virginia is a hater, but at the moment it feels good to generalize so just roll with it. I find it incredibly hard to convey the overwhelming stress and anxiety that my job inflicts on me to others when they ask "how's the job?" Plus, usually when that question is asked the person is hoping for and expecting a one word answer to their small-talk question - "Fine."

For me, work is never fine, but the only person that gets to hear my never-ending stories about the various stupid, mean, abusive, and insane phone calls this office gets is my patient husband, Seth. Today, I took a call that reached an all-time low (or high, depending on how you look at it). I thought it might be a fun exercise to share the transcript of this call as it will hopefully help me deal with it, plus, it's a good way to demonstrate my daily work life.

As you may or may not know, recently, a judge found the National Park Service to be out of compliance with legal requirements to authorize and manage off-road vehicle (ORV) use at the Seashore. This has stirred up talks of closing certain seashores and may affect the Outer Banks. Now...on to the call I just took. Please read the "caller" lines with as much attitude as you can possibly muster to get the full effect.

ME: Governor Easley's Office.
Caller: Yes, I just spoke with someone who was very short with me and rude and who hung up on me. YOU need to know that.
ME: OK
Caller: I am calling about the closure of the Outer Banks and was just told that it was a federal issue and the Governor's Office doesn't care. I am calling from Virginia and I own a house on the Outer Banks and you people need to care because closing the beaches is going to cost tourism dollars!!!
ME: uh huh (my normal neutral "I'm listening" response)
Caller: blah blah blah blah. And I can tell by the tone in YOUR voice that YOU don't care either.
ME: Ma'am, it's not your place to tell me what I do and don't care about.
Caller: Yes it is! I can tell that all you want to do is get me off the phone just like the other lady I spoke to!!!!
ME: Well ma'am you're not being very kind....
Caller: YOU B@%$H!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point, I hang up on her since we do not tolerate callers who use profanity or are verbally abusive. I have had some MEAN people call before, but never has anyone called me a b@%$h at the top of her lungs before. In a rare move (meaning I've never done this before and we're not supposed to do this), I call her back. Her phone number had popped up on caller ID and I've gotten into the habit of immediately writing down the number no matter what they want because you never know what kind of turn a call is going to take. I call her back immediately:

Caller: HELLO?? (you could tell she was p-o'ed from just speaking to me.)
ME: Ma'am, don't you ever call here again and call me a b@%$h.

And I SLAMMED down the phone. I couldn't help but to call her back! There is NO excuse for ANY human being to EVER speak to a perfect stranger who has done NOTHING to him/her the way she spoke to not only me but 2 other staff in our office. My heart was beating out of my chest and my hands were shaking so bad, I dialed her number wrong the first time I tried and I couldn't type. The adrenaline rush was overwhelming to the point that it scared me. This has happened before and it's so scary it usually zaps me for the rest of the day. Every muscle in my body was quivering.

Now, I tell these stories and they just aren't the same as the actual experience, but there are some incredibly rude people in the world, it's just been my experience that some of the WORST are callers from Virginia. Go figure. Keep your nose in your own state's business and if you call NC to whine and cry about how you won't make $9 billion this summer by renting your posh Outer Banks beach house then I don't feel sorry for you. Plus, if you're too stupid to know the difference between the FEDERAL government and STATE government then you deserve to lose money on your summer rental. Maybe you should invest some of that money in an education for yourself instead of weekly manis and pedis with "the girls" after lunch at the country club.

Sorry, that was fun.

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