I Hope She Got Hazard Pay
Back when I started this job, my desk resided in a cubical farm. Having never worked with so little personal space before, I found myself extremely self conscious about EVERYTHING. Was I breathing too loud? What if I laughed and a little fart squeaked out? Would the lady across from me announce it to the other cubical cattle? I learned to talk in whispers and type softly, a difficult feat for someone whose job consisted of answering phones and typing long-winded training modules.
Three weeks after I started, our IT person walked me through the phone system. There were extensions to learn, passwords to memorize, and the dreaded voicemail message to record. Just thinking about that message made me tongue tied. As someone who frequently trips on her words, I knew it would take me several tries to get it right, a luxury you don't have when working in a cubical farm. The woman across from me, we'll call her Wilma, had already started complaining that I "stank."
She didn't mean that I smelled bad, mind you. For whatever reason, Wilma had decided on the first day that she was allergic to me. Each morning it was something new that she could smell: my lotion, shampoo, hair gel, deodorant. It made her sneeze and then sigh, apologizing to everyone in our vicinity because my "body products" were aggravating her "condition." I was terrified to piss her off further. Somehow I just knew that trying to record my voicemail message would.
So I tried to time it for when no one else was around. But it never quite worked out the way I needed it to. I started thinking that Wilma was on to me. She knew I was going to sound like an ass and she wanted to be there to witness it. Two weeks later, the IT person sent a reminder about personalizing my voicemail. So I did what I had to do. I pretended to drop a stack of papers. Then I hid under my desk and recorded the message as quietly and quickly as I could. I thought it came out pretty good too. Until a few hours ago...
It's been over three years since I recorded that message. I have never once listened to it again. Seriously, how often does someone leave a message for themself? I'm going on vacation next week (Surprise!), so I thought it would be a good idea to record an away message. But before the system would allow me record a new one, I was forced to listen to the old one first. I was horrified when it came on. "Hello? This is Tink Erbell..." My voice warbled through the speaker uncertainly. There was no mistaking that I was whispering.
It was the voice of someone who had been kidnapped and thrown in a basement. "Please, leave a message," practically translated to "Please, send help." THIS is what my callers had been hearing for the last three years?! Shit. They say that people who don't look their best during a first meeting often hurry to the mirror afterward, fix themselves up, and instantly feel better about the prior encounter. They trick themselves into thinking they looked better than they did.
This is basically what I did with the voicemail message. I recorded over the old one with a clearer, louder voice and made sure to smile while doing it. Then I pretended like the old one never existed. I was never very good with phones though. Apparently, in erasing the old message I accidentally switched to a secondary one that was recorded by the girl who held my position last. I came back to six very confused voicemails. Four people claimed to have dialed the wrong number. Two just laughed and hung up.
As for the voicemail I'd selected?
"I'm sorry I can't get to the phone right now. I've been abducted by aliens. They have probes!"
Un-fucking-believable. I think I'm REALLY going to enjoy this vacation.
Notice: I will be on vacation from August 6th-10th. Don't worry though, PB isn't completely closed for business. I'll post updates at some point in the week. There's beer in the fridge. Emergency numbers are on the phone. Feel free to loiter. But thieves will be sporked. Have a great weekend!