Last week at work, I missed a telephone call. I heard the phone ring, but I was in the other room and I couldn’t get to it in time. It’s no big deal, I don’t work in a call centre; I don’t have stats telling me that I should answer 46.72 calls every day or that if I swig more than 39 seconds worth of tea every two hours, I’ll cost my team the quarterly bonus. It was a completely uneventful event.
Five minutes later, I casually listed to the voicemail message that had been left for me. It was my boss’s, boss’s, boss. Who has NEVER called me before. I didn’t even have her number on my phone. The message said “Hi Jo, I’m calling about a case that I think you’ve been involved in. Can you give me a call back when you have a chance?”.
Panic stricken, I called her back immediately.
Me: “Hi there boss’s, boss’s boss [I did use her actual name, I’m protecting anonymity, I’m not a complete moron] how are you?”
Her: “I’m very well thank you. Thanks for calling me back so quickly.”
Me: “No problem, I’m sorry I missed your call. I was in the toilet. I heard the phone ring but couldn’t get to it because I was having a wee.”
Inside my head: Holy moly, why did you say that? What is wrong with you? She didn’t need to know you were in the toilet and you certainly shouldn’t have said the word ‘wee’.
Her: Chuckle (politely but slightly awkwardly) “I just thought you were on the road or in a meeting, I know how busy you guys are.”
Inside my head: See. You absolute nincompoop.
Me: “So, how can I help you?”
Her: “I’m just trying to speak to whoever dealt with the *insert completely made up name because even if I wanted to breach data protection, which I don’t, I can’t remember the name anyway* case. I think it was you.”
Inside my head: Huge sigh of relief. Phew! That’s not my case. I don’t know anything about it and I had nothing to do with it. I’ll tell her. Oh hang on a minute, will she think it’s weird that I know straight away that it’s not my case?… because she seems to think it is me. What if it is me, it’s from ages ago and I’ve forgotten all about it? It would be very awkward and embarrassing to have to call her back.
Me: “The name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m not sure if it’s one of mine. If you hang on I can look it up for you?”.
Her: “Oh yes, if you don’t mind, please.”
Me: “Okily dokily.”
Inside my head: Who do you think you are? Ned Flanders?! Why didn’t you just say ‘Okay’ like a regular person?
At this point, my computer helpfully decides to freeze and present me with the evil egg timer of doom in the corner of the screen.
Me: “Sorry, my computer’s on a bit of a go slow at the moment”……..*painful silence*……. “so, do you watch the Great British Bake Off?”
Her: “No, I must admit that I don’t.”
Me: “Really? Oh you should.”
Inside my head: Why should she? She might hate baking. *Gasp* she might hate Mary Berry….Oh no, who would hate Mary Berry? She’s the Nanna that everyone would love to have.
Me: “I love it. In fact, I was so upset when I realised that it was only Tuesday because I thought it was Wednesday and Wednesday is Bake Off day. I get very excited.”
Inside my head: STOP. TALKING.
Me: “Sorry, my computer’s still taking it’s time. Oh here we are. No, the case wasn’t mine it was another anonymous colleague’s case.”
Her: “Right, I’ll give anonymous colleague a call. Sorry to bother you.”
Me: “It’s no bother at all. It’s awfully very nice to hear from you indeed.”
Inside my head: Kiss arse. And what was with the ‘awfully very nice / indeed’ nonsense? You’re not in bloody Oliver Twist. Get over yourself.
Me: “Bub-bye now.”
Inside my head: You should not be allowed to speak to people in authority.