Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here's one from the archives

I write these slices of life for various purposes; some have been published, some haven't. This one's from a while ago when princess was just a baby and it's called 'A Simple Phone Call'...


It should have been a simple phone call. All I needed was an address so that I could pay the phone bill.

(Background: man the husband receive bill, man write cheque, man bin envelope in which cheque to be returned, woman try and put this right with a simple phone call.)

This was a good moment to call. The house was quiet, with my son contentedly watching tv. The baby was a bit hungry, but this wouldn’t take a moment.

The phone number was printed right at the top of the bill under the heading: Bill Enquiries. I dial and run into the usual electronic options.

“So we can help you better, please enter your phone number, including the area code. Thank you. Press 1 for billing or general enquiries. Thank you. A Customer Representative will be with you soon.”

The baby is gambolling around my feet, but rather ominously, is also muttering “num num” (‘food’ in her language). Luckily, for once the Customer Representative actually is with me soon.

“Hi, I want to pay my bill, but my husband has binned the return envelope, so please could you give me your address.”

“I can help you with that, but please can I first have your phone number?”

“I just entered my phone number.”

“I’m sorry, but for security purposes…thank you. I’m sorry, but you’ve come through to wrong number.”

“I dialled the number given for Bill Enquiries,”

“That’s the wrong number.”

The baby is now gnawing gently at my leg, her way of showing that it really is time for num num.

“All I want to know is your address.”

“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to transfer you.”

“You don’t know your address?”

“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to transfer you.”

Back on hold. The baby has graduated from muttering and gnawing to a hysterical wail: “NUM NUM! NUM NUM!” Never mind, this won’t take a moment once I’m through to the right person.

“Hello, how can I help you?”

“Hi, I want to pay my bill, but my husband has binned the return envelope, so please could you give me your address.”

“I can help you with that, but please can I first have your phone number?”

“I’ve already given it twice,”

“I’m sorry, but for security purposes…thank you. Now can I have your name, please…thank you. And now your address, please.”

“NUM NUM!” The baby has decided to forage for herself, but all she has found is toilet paper. “NUM NUM! NUM NUM!” And now my son is getting in on the act. “MUM! I CAN’T HEAR THE TV!”

“My address? Why do you need my address? I’m phoning to get your address.”

“I’m sorry, but for security purposes… thank you. Now I need your date of birth.”

“Really, I just want your address.”

“I’m sorry, but for security purposes…thank you. And your husband’s date of birth.”

“NUM NUM! NUM NUM!” The floor is covered in shreds of toilet paper and the baby is bashing the tv screen in a hunger driven rage. “I CAN’T SEEEEE THE TV!” my son is bellowing.

“For security purposes?”

“That’s right…thank you. Now how can I help?”

“Your address, please.”

“PO Box 123, Sydney 2000. Can I help with anything else today?”

With a lucky, or unlucky, swipe, the baby turns the tv off and simultaneously vomits up some half-digested toilet paper. “NUM NUM! NUM NUM!” “MUUUUUUUM! THE TV!”

“No, I really don’t think that you can help me with anything else today.”

5 comments:

Conduit said...

Hey, I didn't realise you'd started blogging! I'll have to give you a link from mine.

And, yes, don't you just love call centre staff?

McKoala said...

Turned out people wanted somebody who claimed to be a blogger to actually be a blogger, so I'm quietly turning on the lights one-by-one. Yes, link! I'll link back!

McKoala said...

Those hyphens should not have been there, because that was not the adjectival use of 'one by one'. Sigh. Luckily this is a blog, not a grammar book.

Shanta Everington said...

Love it! Having quite a few of these moments myself now smallboy is finding his feet!

Amazingly, I managed to be interviewed over the phone by my local rag (in my official status as AUTHOR hmm) with mobile in one hand and small boy hanging off other.

Every now and then, I would notice there was no longer anything attached to my right finger and then hear a thump as smallness fell over on his way to his goal (usually, the plug socket, tv cable or other hazrd - I really must child proof my home some day soon!)

Shanta x

McKoala said...

LOL, Shanta, I feel your pain. I was interviewed over the phone by a radio station here a couple of years ago, about an article I had written - live on air, while filling a paddling pool! It's all about the glamour.

I might post that article here as this week's entry, 'cos I still haven't quite geared up to actual 'slice of life' blogging!