Yesterday was a day of waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
More specifically, for the phone to ring. I paced next to the phone from 9 AM until 2 PM, waiting for the GP to ring back. Of course, I couldn’t just be sane and do something to pass the time… oh no… naturally, I had to pace, and make strange faces, and talk to myself about how I need to be able to answer the phone and get over my strange ways and so on and so forth.
Lots of pacing.
At 10.32 AM, the phone rang.
I took a deep breath, paced quickly past it, scooping the phone up in my hand. Pressed The Dreaded Button, trying not to think (which is easier said than done), and said That Word That I’ve Come To Loathe: “hello?”…
Of course, it came out as more of a squeaked, “hhhhaaaaaaaeeeeeeeelllluuuuuuhhhhhhhhpppppppffffffffffttttttttthhhhhhhh…” kind of noise. Not really a word, I think you’ll agree.
Swiftly followed by a long, pained sigh as I realised that it wasn’t the GP, or anyone I know. A barely intelligible voice asking for my mother. The Voice then went on to not only misgender me (which I’d like to blame on The Squeaked Greeting, if that’s all right with everyone), after I’d told it that everyone’s at work and things, but also try and trick me into giving it access to my computer. Claims to be a security company, but we’ve dealt with them before.
Well, my parents have. My mum’s technique is to shout “I don’t know you. GO AWAAAAY…” at them, before (metaphorically) slamming the (cordless) phone down as hard as she can, in all her fuzzy smallness. That’s a good thing, by the way. It’s not the first time I’ve had to clarify that. Anyway. My dad’s technique to get rid of them, which I can only assume comes from his thinking that He Is Clever, is to stay on the phone with them, arguing the toss, and doing That Strange Sarcastic Thing that he seems to think really puts people in their place. When, in fact, it wastes his time and energy, and makes him sound far stupider than he seems to realise.
But I don’t like being rude to people, if I can at all help it. I’m very conscious of the fact that they’re only doing their job, and they probably need the money, and don’t deserve the hassle. Then again, I’m odd. So that might all be bollocks.
But still. I employed a strategy I’d once read about in the Yellow Pages. You know, when they were still enormous and entertaining? They had a section at the beginning on dealing with cold-callers. Silence on our end would apparently work better than screaming at our end, so I tried that. It worked… eventually. And I was triumphant. Ha! Serves you right for suggesting I was female, you evil person whose strong accent I couldn’t understand and yet who got huffy whenever I politely asked you to repeat yourself… or something. I tried.
And then I had to work myself back up to Confidentish again.
I succeeded at that, surprisingly, by employing a technique that kept me (in?)sane during the first few years of secondary school, and which had been recently reinforced when I re-read Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind. There was a section about dealing with people, called “Confusion and Self-Defence”; he describes an encounter with an aggressive-drunk-type person, during which he defused the situation by confusing his “opponent” in the following fashion:
Drunk Strange Person: “What the fuck’re yoooou looking at?”
Brown: “The wall outside my house isn’t four foot high.”
Drunk Strange Person: [Pause] “Whaaaat?!”
Brown: “The wall outside my house isn’t four foot high. But I lived in Spain for a bit and you should see the walls there – enormous, right up here!” [Hand gesture to prove the point] “But here, they’re tiny! Look at these ones!” [Gesture to small wall nearby]
Drunk Strange Person: “Oh, fuuuuuck…” [Crumples]
Saying odd things, usually loudly, and watching the facial expressions distort in delightfully confusing ways was always a great source of entertainment for the Odd Young Me… and apparently I haven’t lost that particular sense of humour.
So I started thinking of odd things to say, or do, down the phone. It beats being rude and feeling nothing but horribly guity afterwards; this way, I’ll just be strange, and the entertainment will drown any lasting guilt afterwards. One would hope, anyway. We’ll see how it goes. Suggestions welcome. I quite like the idea of “freaking out” at an arachnid or rodent’s appearance nearby… and then, after screaming ear-splittingly into the receiver while I still have the chance… using the phone to try andkill the thing. Slam slam slam. Slam. (Of course, no such creature would be present in the first place, and could therefore not be harmed in the making of this future anecdote.)
Hence returned my panic levels to normal. Which, for me, is somewhere on the boundary line between “AAAAAARGH” and continual hyperventilation.
Back to the Point… Again.
So, after I’d waited long enough, as far as I was concerned, I gave up. I got on with the Other Stuff I’d been planning to do that day, and decided that if the phone rang while I was doing them, then I might answer it, I might not. Followed by a fume when I realised that GPs only work 4 hours a day at my local surgery… so why exactly is it so damn hard to phone someone back at a sane time of day? (Really, I do understand why, but still. I wasn’t happy.)
The phone call came that day… at 7 PM. When my mum was home and able to answer it for me. And she’d already answered it twice since she’d been home, so I wasn’t expecting it at all. So I now have an appointment for a blood test tomorrow morning. And it’s a fasting one. But the sad part is that my dad’ll be coming with me. (I usually need someone to shield me from The Humans in any crowded place, and waiting rooms are at the top of the list of Painful Places. Working on that one.)
So… I have a blood test to look forward to – I’m OK with needles and stuff, so all is well there – plus a potentially-backfiring login machine, awkward gender-confused moments (when answering to a female name, I’m convinced I look male, and vice versa… surely it can’t work both ways?) with the nursing staff, and now the joys of my father’s sarcasm, insensitivity and general moronic behaviour. Hmm. That should be fun.
Wish me luck.
And don’t forget, rhubarb is sweeter when forced, cumulonimbus clouds can make a picture, and I once saw an elephant.
(My mother’s enthusiastic creation, when presented with my Original Idea.)