On average, Chris and I receive two to three telephone solicitation calls PER DAY. Yes, you read that correctly. I know, because I'm home most days working on my writing. I hear the phone ring, I stop what I'm doing to go downstairs and look at the call display, and either I answer the call, if it's someone I know or want to hear from, or I hit Cancel.
It's 12:31 pm, and I've already received two calls today. The first was from 866-397-8093 (which called at least once a day, every day, for the past couples of weeks), and the second was from Unknown Name Unknown Number. Those are my favorite; I cancel them automatically.
I tell you this so you know I have sound justification for being fed with the number of calls interrupting my work, trying to sell me something I don't need or want.
Here's how the conversation with today's first caller went:
Me: "Hello!" (The tone in my voice is, I've already lost patience with you, and you haven't opened your mouth yet.)
Caller: "Hello. This is Patricia calling. How are you today?" (I hate when they start like that, trying to be personable, trying to sound like they care about how I am.)
Me: "I'm fine. What is this call about?" (I've always preferred the direct approach.)
Patricia: "Is Mr. this-is-where-they-mangle-the-pronunciation-of-Chris's-last-name there?"
Me: "No. He's at work. How can I help you?"
Patricia: "I'm calling from BMO insurance. May I speak with the wife of the house?" (Oh, this is too easy.)
Me: "I'm Chris's partner." (Making my voice sound as deep as possible.)
Patricia: "Pardon me?"
Me: "I said, I'm Chris's partner." (I speak louder, like Patricia is hard of hearing.)
Patricia: "Oh. Sorry." (Laughs nervously.)
Me: "What is this about?" (I'm truly annoyed now.)
Patricia: "I'm calling you today to talk about different types of insurance for women." (What?)
Me: "There are no women in this household."
Patricia: (Thinks for a minute.) "Oh." (Pause.) "Thank you for your time." (Hangs up.)
In the past, I've written posts about how, as gay people, we should go out of our way to help those who don't feel comfortable with us. Something about trying to win them over with kindness, create a favorable impression, that sort of thing.
What do you think? Did I create a favorable impression with Patricia today? Probably not, right?
This is a picture of me sending apologetic vibes out into the universe for being so short-tempered with her. After all, she's just trying to do her job. Hopefully, I can undo whatever negative karma I created before something awful comes back to bite me in the ass.
But, Patricia, here's what I hope you took from our exchange today:
1). Don't assume every household you call is made up of a man and a woman. There are different types people out there, in different living arrangements, and you should be able to think faster on your feet, so we don't get the impression we're being judged by what you say or, worse, what you don't say.
2). When you learn you've made a call to a gay male household, don't persist in trying to sell insurance for women. This is where you turn off autopilot. I assure you, most gay male households do not have women. End your call gracefully and hang up.