Tuesday, September 15, 2009

JunkMail Greetings. This Is Lee. How Can I Help You Today?

I think I first started really using the phone in fifth grade.  Maybe that's when you realize that other people have lives outside of yours and that maybe you'd better call before showing up at their door shouting, "Can John come out and play?"  I think it was also the first time I had a real friend who was not in my neighborhood or school.

My parents were real sticklers for phone etiquette.  Much like a telemarketer selling vinyl siding, I had a set script to open every conversation with.

"Hello Mrs. Brown.  This is Lee calling.  Is Ricky available to come to the phone?"

No alterations except the substitutions of names.  My parents hated picking up a phone and having some kid blurt out, "Lee there?" and forbade me from ever doing it.

This made me sound like the biggest dork, but endeared me in the hearts of all my friends' parents who were also sick of picking up the phone to "Tammy there?"  It also probably groomed me a bit for my stint in the business world and my briefer stint in telemarketing. 

The other day, watching Law & Order SVU, Benson opens up her phone and says, "Benson. Go."   And it sounds so natural.  Like that's the way people should answer phones. So I thought I'd give it a try.  

Ring, ring.  (actually, my personal ringtone for Carol is the little snippet from Newcleus' Jam On It, where the little guys are yelling "Wiki, wiki, wiki, wiki... Shut up! Yeah, we know, we know."  Mind you, it's a personalized ringtone and Carol's face pops up on the screen and Carol is the only person who calls me, so I'm fully aware who's calling.)

Me:  "Lee. Go."

Carol:  (pregnant pause)  "Um.  What the hell was that?"  

Me:  "It's the way I'm going to answer my phone from now on.  Go."

Carol:  "Um, no?  You know who's calling and I know who I'm calling, so you just sound ridiculous."

Me:  "Okay, then what about, 'Your loving husband. Go.'?"  ( I don't know if that punctuation is right. I started getting lost when I started using apostrophes for quotes.)

Carol:  "Quit telling me to go.  You keep answering the phone like that and if you don't already know who's calling, you'll know it's me because I'll be the one hanging up.  It'll be like "Ring, ring.  Lee. Go.  *click*  Oh shit, now I gotta call Carol back.""  (again, sorry about the quotations.  I just figure they travel in pairs.)

And thus went my attempt to break from the ranks of formality and join the ultra-efficient world without cellphone hellos and goodbyes. 

I'm still going to use it on the telemarketers though.


amanda said...

i am so happy to see a new post! i laughed. a lot. :) i think i will try this approach and see what response i get!

Lee said...

Yeah, sorry about that. I've always hated when people started off entries with, "Sorry I haven't been updating as much as I should..." or some such nonsense, so I vowed I never would.

Though I probably should. Because I am sorry after all. About not updating, that is. As much as I should.

I think you get the point.

Rizzyred said...

Ewww... I totally do that... apologize for not writing. Why do I do that? It's not like anyone really cares, right? I blame my mother.

I have a 2nd grade girl. Her friends have started to call her. They don't actually say anything to each other and it usually ends up with the phone off the hook, but I was shocked at how early they've begun to use the phone. Well now she wants to start answering the phone and I told her if she wants to answer it she has to say, "Murphy residence; Gwyneth speaking." I totally agree with your parents. Phone etiquette is totally underrated. Plus it's just kind of fun to hear her try and say all that.