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Costumery

Feb. 14th, 2011 | 09:52 pm

I didn't watch the Grammys last night, but I did see a photo of a certain pretentious dingaling (who will remain nameless here) arrive in a giant egg.

Clearly she hasn't been pursuing the "looking weird" gimmick for very long. If she was the real deal, she'd know better to pace herself. If she doesn't slow down, she's going to run out of costume ideas. Then she might actually have to come up with original music!

Heaven forbid. She can have these costume ideas, free of charge:

1. Covered in dogfood, and chased everywhere by a trained pack of wolves.
2. Encased in a giant concrete slab, and be carried everywhere by a crane.
3. Naked, but decorated with 200,000 wooden splinters in every millimeter of skin.
4. A body cast covered in haggis recipes.
5. A neon sign suit, connected to a generator on wheels.
6. A cork dress and matching shoes, with a 200-foot tall lightning rod hat.
7. Wrapped in 80-foot vines growing out of plant pot rollerskates.
8. Bees. Lots and lots and lots of bees.
9. Three strategically placed severed heads of stillborn children. And nothing else.
10. An iron maiden.

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Nay, Boor: Part Two

Dec. 6th, 2010 | 07:20 pm

My next door neighbor has been mostly bearable... until last month. She recently decided that conversational yelling and making our hallway smell like a grow op were not white trash enough. So she freaked out.
On Friday at about 10pm, I heard angry screams, and something or someone crashing around in her suite. A minute later her boyfriend ran into the hall. She screamed "You fucking insulted me!" over and over, and he fled. She yelled and vented at a friend a bit more afterward.
So much for a quiet bath.
After hearing more angry yelling two nights later, I called my landlord again. The number was disconnected.
A nasty tic was starting to twist my face up. I wrote a letter to my landlord, chronologically detailing the Adventures of my Neighbor From Hell, back to when she'd moved in. I felt better already.
A few days later my landlord called me. She was upset and shocked; my neighbor seemed pleasant and no one else had ever complained.
No. One. Else.
This story is brought to you by the uncomfortable reminder that not standing up to bad behavior is almost as bad as the behavior itself. Not saying No to some people is the same as saying Yes. And I'm just as guilty; I tolerated the monster's obnoxiousness for months before taking action. So shame on me, too.
Anyway, my landlord gave me some wonderful news: my neighbor's given her notice and will be moving out at New Year's. One more month! Halleluja chunky peanut butter!!
Two weeks later at 3am, I woke up to a familiar yell at the end of my street. Oh, no. Please please let it be someone who sounds like her, let her pass by, let the sound fade... oh, no.
Yelling downstairs in our lobby, in the reverberant stairwell, past my suite door, and into hers. She kept yelling, barking, squawking in the piercing, coarse voice of aging Vegas waitresses. I staggered out of bed and grabbed my phone to call 911. Oh, battery dead. Brilliant.
The aural equivalent of Chinese water torture continued for the next half hour.
The next day, battery charged, I made a pointless call to the police. I seethed with eight months' worth of repressed rage, frustration, a lousy night's sleep, and a new facial tic. I knocked on my neighbor's door, and told her I'd call the police if the racket happened again. She told me I was rude.
I'd suspected before; now it's clear I'm dealing with a crazy person.
Great. I really needed more crazy people in my life this year.
I updated my landlord again, who threatened my neighbor with eviction.
And now it's quiet again. The countdown to New Year's continues.
10-9-8...

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Bender

Dec. 6th, 2010 | 12:08 pm

Well that was interesting...
There was a lot going on this weekend, and "a lot" mans "multiple events centered around the consumption of alcohol". After a week of early nights and healthy eating, I was ready for a four-day bender.

The proposed schedule:
THURSDAY the Pumpjack's 10-year anniversary party, followed by a live show
FRIDAY staff party
SATURDAY Santa Con
SUNDAY a friend's 35 birthday party at the Pumpjack, then a burlesque show later.

The real schedule:
THURSDAY
Hit the Pumpjack at 6pm. It's rocking, and there's a free buffet. My beloved vodka-cran is on special. Several doubles help warm me up and make memories of a frantic workday fade.
At 8pm I stagger home, just buzzed enough to hum a Lady Gaga song and not hate myself.
Recharging with espresso martinis, I head down to Granville and see Conjure One and Frontline Assembly.
So far, so good.
FRIDAY
Off today. I wake at 11. I feel pretty good. I do errands, then start getting ready at 4. Drinking lots of water, Gatorade, and of course my power smoothie. Feeling good.
Grand entrance at the staff party at 7pm. I'm feeling so good I have two martinis and two glasses of champagne before dinner. It's open bar all night, and it shows. My cocktail dress zipper had popped open for several hours before I noticed.
My last memory of the evening is walking up Hastings Street at an unknown hour, looking for a cab.
SATURDAY
I wake up in my bathrobe on top of my bedclothes. My dresser and closet are almost empty and nearly every article of clothing I own is everywhere. There are two unfamilar-looking bags on my floor and my front door is unlocked. Apparently I went spelunking in my storage locker after I got home last night.
At this point, I don't even care why. The journey from bed to couch has left me too exhausted to even consider the four extra steps to my fridge to get water.
I try to remember what happened, then give up and watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It's now 10am. Santa Con starts in two hours.
Santa! Jesus Christ.
I shower, dress, and do errands with all the haste of my grandmother- the dead one. Somehow I make it home and throw on my Santa costume at 11:45. I manage to pack my ProSolve spray bottle of vanilla vodka without throwing up and trudge blearily out the door.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to die.
Bu then, something happens. At the sight and sound of a hundred other Santas, I'm rejuvenated. It's a Miracle on Davie Street! Hair of the reindeer! Double rye and ginger please!
So zealous is my Christmas spirit that the expensive yet wee cocktails at various bars disappear too quickly. So I start ordering Strongbow. A sound financial decision, yes?
Eight hours later, however, I'm losing the power of speech and communicating with hand gestures, clicks and whistles. I have forgotten how to flirt, and can only give thumbs-up to a very cute Santa named Keegan rather than talking to him.
Several Santas try their best to convince me to stay, but I bus home at 9pm. I summon the last of my Santa cheer and salute the driver with a Ho Ho Ho, but it sounds grim and terrifying through my ravaged vocal cords.
SUNDAY
The mess of my home now has an additional layer of red detritus covering it like bloody snow: pasta sauce, various Santa costumery, hats, scarves, mittens, tights, a dvd of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the nearly-empty Prosolve bottle, my Christmas drinking glove. There are candy canes and a large metal bell that I don't recognize scattered on the floor. I'm itchy for some reason, and seem to have pulled a groin muscle. I also have a rhythmic, shooting pain in my left lower abdomen that makes me double over.
I pick my way through the disaster area to the shower, then decide on a bath. Standing up seems like a stupid idea right now. I'm still itchy and find out why: I've got hives.
Oh my god.
No. It's impossible! I wore my own, clean clothes last night. How would I get hives? Could it be the three previous days of relentless self-pollution?
This is unexpected and unprecedented. Hives and pain were not on the menu. Other then those two surprise guests I feel somewhat sociable. After successfully not passing out and drowning in the bath, I go for brunch.
My friends and I get to the Pumpjack at 2. My friend, the birthday boy, is horrified by my cranberry juice and insists on adding vodka to it.
I don't make it to the burlesque show, and am home asleep in bed by 8.
Well, Santa would understand.

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Nay, boor

Sep. 14th, 2010 | 11:01 pm

I love my neighbors Jack and Chris, who live behind Door Number and One and Door Number Two. They're groovy guys. But behind Door Number Three lives a different kind of animal. The kind that parties and shouts and barks and squawks and worse. I had always thought only toddlers on cross country flights could achieve the fearsome, soul-destroying pitch of this girl's voice. Wrong.

In the first week after she'd moved in, she had a party. On a weeknight. Okay, I thought. I'm not going to get huffy yet. I put in my earplugs and closed my windows. That weekend she had another party. Two days later, another party. Daily I heard her carry boxes of empty clinking bottles downstairs to the recycling bin. Weeks stretched into months. She seemed utterly incapable of being quiet at any time of the day or night.

Being generally nonconfrontational, I rationalized pathetically. Maybe she was hearing impaired and had no idea how loud she was. How embarrassing if I'd caustically protested that her voice could shake the rivets out of a tank, only to see her respond with complex hand signals. Perhaps she was an extraordinarily talented ventriloquist and glassblower. On more than one occasion I found myself tiptoeing up to my door, listening for the roar of a furnace. Sometimes when I heard a multitude of voices coming from her apartment I would slowly, so slowly, creep to my peephole and watch for party guests. I was starting to act like the homicidal madman in "The Tell-Tale Heart". I lay in bed late at night, bullied out of sleep by yet another party, playing out elaborate stratagems in my mind to entrap my neighbor, utterly break her will, violently remove her larnyx, and have her evicted.

One Saturday afternoon, I ran into her in the hall. She airily asked me to let her know any time her noise "bugs" me. Walter Mitty made a brief cameo in my brain and I fantasized about suffocating her with her own hair. I asked her to please tone down her parties on weeknights, after ten o'clock. She paused thoughtfully, as if this was a foreign concept and not standard apartment etiquette, and said okay. She said she wanted to be a good neighbor.

The next night, she had a party. It started at ten o'clock.

Words were clearly useless. Action was needed.

Every shriek, every thud from her stereo, every earsplitting squawk that echoed in the reverberant stairwell next to my suite magnified my twisted plans of vengeance. I thought about buying a tiny microphone and connecting it above her door like a secret agent, to record the din for the landlord's edification. I thought about recording the sounds of a jackhammer from a construction site, looping it on a cd, and playing it back at our adjoining wall. I watched her let more party guests in through my door's peephole, fantasizing about leaping out and brandishing a flamethrower. The initial white-hot gout of fire would burst through her doorway, instantly turning her into a human match. Moments later when she fell the wall of fire could proceed unobstructed down her hallway and onto her helpless party guests.

One morning, apparently craving a change from her usual nocturnal aural rape, she sullied my peaceful breakfast with a symphony of moaning. I dumped my oatmeal in the garbage and fled to work early.

A few weeks ago the noise machine seemed to shut down. I lived in fear for the beautiful silence to be broken. She was probably on vacation. Any day, or any night, the nightmare would begin anew. I continued to sleep with my earplugs in, and my windows shut, even on the hottest nights. Every moment of quiet might be my last.

Was she abducted by a busload of Japanese tourists? Was she struck by lightning? Did she move out? Tune in next time...

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Music: the subspecies

Sep. 4th, 2010 | 03:24 pm

Yesterday the Vancouver Art Gallery back lot was crawling with activity in preparation for the Taiwanese Festival. Huge white tents, kiosks, lighting scaffolds, camera crews, and sound equipment covered the lawn.

As I walked past the site, a sound check began. A young man and a middle aged woman appeared on the largest stage, singing live to canned music.

It was, with absolutely no exaggeration, the most awful sound I'd ever heard in my life. I assumed there was some massive sound glitch that butchered the music to this degenerate condition, but the singers actually looked very pleased with the result. The melody itself was inane and juvenile. Basically the same four notes were played in every mathematically possible order. Percussion sounded like someone hitting a pot cover with a screwdriver.

But the real travesty was the singing. The woman's shaky, flat falsetto was torture. What she lacked in talent, she made up for in volume. She complemented her singing with rhythmic knee bends, which I'm not sure were meant to suggest evading repeated baseball bat swings from an invisible attacker, or perhaps hinting that her singing gave people the urge to squat.

For the first time, I understood the urge of dogs to yowl in panic when they hear noise that hurts their ears. I was trapped on a sidewalk, surrounded by crowds of office people walking home from work on a Friday afternoon, trapped in the middle of this aural nightmare. I could feel my face twisted in revulsion and I must have looked constipated. Losing control, I bolted.

I'll never criticize another bland, talentless, Top 40 studio clone. I'll never again sneer at Lady Gaga or other clichéd, Auto-tuned ripoffs. They're no longer the enemy.

Taiwanese pop music is.

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Holy shit, it's been a while.

Aug. 12th, 2010 | 07:22 pm

I'm the worst blogger ever! What do you mean, what have I been doing? What have YOU been doing?
I went to Le Chateau today on my break. I grabbed two red blouses and beelined to a dressing room. A salesgirl half my age accosted me.
"Hi, how are you today? I really like your shirt.You look really Mad Men."
"I thought Mad Men takes place in the early 60's."
"Yeah. Isn't that why you're dressed like that?"
"No, I've never seen it. And this outfit is inspired by the 20's, 30's, and 40's- too early for Mad Men."
She looks deeply offended, as if I'd suddenly thrown my feces at her.
"Oh, um. Are you looking for something in red?"
"Not especially, no."
I've just put the first blouse on when the salesgirl throws a red sweater over the door.
"Try this."
"What... uh, you got the wrong room..."
She's gone.
I realize I need a larger size in the two blouses I picked. I call, "hello?"
Nothing. I stick my head out the door and wait for her to come back. She doesn't. I get dressed, grab my purse, and make my way back to the racks and look for new sizes. No luck. I'm almost at the door when the girl spots me and calls, "Did you like the sweater?"
"I think it was for someone else. I didn't ask for a sweater."
"Oh, I just thought you'd like it."
"I'm not looking for a sweater."
"Well, I just thought you'd like it."
"I don't know how else to say this. I, don't, want, a, sweater."
Another salesgirl is staring at me now, with something like disgust in her eyes, like I'm a spoiled child refusing to play a game at her own birthday party. Am I being that deeply offensive?
Is it so rude to get annoyed when someone won't take "no" for an answer? To refuse to play along with the Junior Cookie-Cutter Sales Pitch?
Why is it socially acceptable to be curt with pushy panhandlers, but not with pushy salespeople? How is a corporate agenda any better than a panhandler's agenda? They're both pressuring us for money.
I think I'll open a chain of retail stores in which the staff totally ignore the customers, even to the point where customers actually have to search for staff to help them, and perhaps even risk getting lost. Oh wait... it exists already. It's called The Bay.

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My dad: superhero or overachieving Maritimer?

Jun. 21st, 2010 | 12:25 pm

I’ve always kind of imagined my dad to be a kind of superhero. That’s a seriously heavy burden for him to carry but somehow he manages. He’s had the kind of life you read about in books or watch in movies starring Steven Seagal and shown on basic cable Tuesday afternoon. By the time the movie’s over you doubt anybody like that could really exist. Then again I think most folks doubt Steven Seagal's existence too.

Dad’s life was anything but easy from the start. He was born mid- Depression in the ruralist of rural Nova Scotia, the youngest child of a tribe of mostly male hellions. If you ask my dad how poor his family was, he’ll tell you about how he’d once found a framed picture discarded in the road and brought it home, only to have it thrown out because they didn’t have any walls to hang it on. But the humor isn’t far from the truth. Christmas presents were clothes made from produce sacks, some stick candy, and an orange. Naturally he got all the worst of the worst hand-me-downs, even having to cut the toes out of his ice skates that all his older siblings had already worn out.

Growing up in the woods lit a spark in my dad: a deep love of nature, of things that grow. Dad’s idea of heaven has never been some prim, fey, holy circus in the clouds, but wild forests and fields that go on forever... along with good boots and a thermos of tea, of course.

All that Wordsworthian romping created a strapping kid. By the eighth grade dad was tiring of school and its psychotic teachers and tedious drills. He was spotted goofing around at the local track by a coach who offered to train him. Starting with running, dad moved to the high jump, then on to any other track events that piqued his interest. While many young men his age were partying, getting into trouble, and generally being nuisances, dad was exercising, training, and going to bed early. He started competing in local events- and collecting trophies. It wasn’t until he tried pole vaulting for the first time that he found his lifelong passion. He directed all his attention to pole vaulting and became one of the top vaulters in Canada, even making it to the Olympic trials.

Of course he still found time to grow up, meet my mom (imagine- the star athlete and the stylish nurse- the original power couple!), raise two "interesting" daughters, become a highly respected member of his community, and grow his fortune. By the time he’d retired in 1997, he’d added autobody technician, carpenter, long-haul truck driver, diamond driller, hydroplane racer, entrepreneur, and sheriff to his resume (at least those are the jobs he’ll admit to). And all the time, he never slowed down.

Despite his traditional upbringing, dad’s Scottish heritage had a hand in making him a proto-feminist. At a time when society had rigorously defined gender roles, my dad as a husband was doing laundry, cleaning the house, and even changing diapers (sorry dad…) Ridicule rolled off his back. He always felt there was honour in doing even the most menial tasks well, so he never recognized “women’s work” or “men’s work”. It was just work.

My dad also has the most random talents of anyone in recorded history. He can fix any mechanical item, make any plant grow into a beanstalk-sized monster, drink more coffee in one day than any living human, barbeque anything from a cake to a giraffe, make the kind of homemade candy that you’ll never find in any store and without a thermometer, stay awake for medically proven insane periods of time, rollerblade, bowhunt, fish, ski, snowboard, bowl, golf, win at Trivial Pursuit, survive in the wilderness with matches and a knife (and a thermos of tea), out-McGyver McGyver, play the bagpipes, pack six months’ of luggage into a car trunk, park on a dime and give you nine cents’ change, improvise forgotten song lyrics far better than the originals, identify a vintage car just by the sound of its motor, and is proud owner of the largest cache of duct tape on the Eastern seaboard. Somehow he manages to do it all with humility, worldly wisdom, saintly patience, and a very broad sense of humor. Not bad for a poor country boy.

How do you sum up a dad like that? My mother sent me a picture recently that can. Dad had run out of room hanging laundry on the outdoor clothesline, and found a new place to dry the socks: the ceiling fan. His irrefutable logic: they wouldn't get in the way, rising heat would dry them quickly, and he could get them down simply by turning on the fan.

That’s my dad.


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Hey grabby!!

May. 10th, 2010 | 11:24 pm

I got grabbed on a crosswalk recently. And not in a fun boyfriend's-hand-meets-tush kind of way. I was approaching a woman on a crowded crosswalk, and instead of doing that funny little "I'll go right, you go left" dance step most strangers do she actually grabbed my arm and yanked me out of her way without breaking her stride. I made it to the other corner and tried to absorb what happened. By the time my tiny brain caught up, she was gone and I had to get to work. A week later, I got grabbed again by another girl in a similar situation. What the hell's going on? Why do these poeple only seem to exist in Vancouver? Are women really that hostile these days? Is the famous women-to-men ratio of Vancouver actually making women aggressive towards each other all the time?

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Thanks Mum

May. 9th, 2010 | 09:53 pm

Mum, thanks for raising a "special" child like me. I wonder how I didn't bankrupt you with the thousands of books you bought me, and never complained, no matter how fast I read them and asked for more, the know-it-all little shit. You actually researched and sought professional advice on how to handle my sometimes unbearable precociousness, and you made every effort to guide it in positive, creative ways.

And remember all those times I went missing? Like the time when you woke up at about 5am when I was two, and I wasn't in bed, and you thought there was a burglar in the house, but it was just me, standing on a chair at the stove, making scrambled eggs? And you and dad could have really freaked out at me using the stove or just for generally being a mutant but just trusted me and went back to bed?

And sometimes I wasn't missing just from my bed, but from the house? Like the time when I was four, and you woke up at 6am and you couldn't find me? You really must have panicked. But you found me standing at the bottom of our driveway, with dad's backpack full of your old nursing textbooks, waiting for a schoolbus because I wanted to go to school like the big kids. Missing children on a dark road is funny!! Man, you could have kicked my ass for that one. But no, you just quietly took pictures, presumably to blackmail me when I was older. You're a mom with an eye on the future, oh yes.

And when I was seven, I saw a tv show about a runaway, and decided it might be fun? So I woke up early one morning and packed a pillowcase with cookies and left before anybody else was awake. And our neighbour found me about a mile up the Trans-Canada a few hours later. Oh yeah, no trouble at all.

And you always made sure I was healthy with your mutant bread. I hated that fucking bread as much as any schoolkid can hate anything, and that was a lot. All the other kids at school tormented me with their exciting processed food products, like Wonderbread and store-bought treats like Wagon Wheels and chocolate milk. None of that for me, oh no. I got homemade whole wheat bread sandwiches, apples, and white milk. Yuck. Worse still, you were a nurse. Laurence Olivier couldn't have faked a sick day with you. Stomachache? Oh, I don't think so, young lady.

But years later when I graduated highschool, I realized that I had a perfect attendance record for twelve years, and no health issues or illnesses. All because of you. You slogged away in the kitchen ceaselessly, making homemade bread and pie and cookies and giving us lots of lean meats, fresh veggies and fruit, even when they cost a king's ransom. You did everything in your power to keep us healthy. You chased me outside, trusting me to romp all over the valley, into the neighbor's barns, through the fields, in the woods, around the well, up the trees, around farm animals that were ten times my size.

You never forbid me from trying certain things that other kids weren't allowed. Remember when I was four, and I found you smoking? And I asked you if I could try it, and you said yes. I took a drag, the way I'd seen you do it, and coughed until I cried. I've had an aversion to cigarette smoke ever since. And you let me take sips of your wine and your rye and ginger to see what it was like. You never locked the liquor away, so there was no forbidden fruit to reach for in my teens. Decades later, rye and ginger is still my "standby" cocktail.

And you were always straight up about answering my endless and sometimes inappropriate questions. Like when I was three and I asked where babies came from. And hell, you told me. Oh boy, did you tell me. You reasoned if I was old enough to wonder, I was old enough to know.

You taught me about handling sharp objects as soon as I could talk, and that was really smart of you because you never had to worry about me using those things ever again. I never hurt myself or anything else using the jackknife dad gave me when I was six, or the kitchen knives, sewing needles, tools, scissors... well okay, the scissors were fine until you caught me "altering" the five hundred dollar living room drapes when I was seven. And let's not forget my beloved bow and arrows. The boomerang was admittedly a disaster, and you must have been pretty surprised as you were busy washing dishes in the kitchen when it crashed through the window in front of you, but you handled it pretty well.

Even when you and Dad didn't have a whole lot of money when I was little, you always made sure I had lots of nice toys and records. My lifelong obsession with music began with "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" thanks to you.

As infuriatingly old fashioned and conservative as you've always been, you were a renegade too. You respected my inchoate hatred of dolls at a time when every little girl was expected to love them, and you duly warned all our relatives at Christmastime and birthdays. In the early 70's, when other parents pierced their newborn daughters' ears out of fear of gender confusion, you publicly denounced that practice as utterly absurd and told everyone that you didn't care if strangers mistook me for a boy, and that I would get my own ears pierced when I was older, if I chose to do so. I never did choose to, and am eternally grateful you gave me that choice and taught me to challenge convention... in your old fashioned, conservative way. And that's your brilliance: infuriating, embarrassing, backward, loving, unwavering brilliance. So thanks Mum.

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A special phone call at work

May. 4th, 2010 | 08:26 pm

Caller: "Hello... uh... is this an office?"
Alex: "Yes, we're a professional IT staffing company."
Caller: "Oh. Okay..."
Silence.
A: "Can I help you?"
Caller: "Well... uh... you're a staffing company?"
A: "Yes."
Caller: "Are you.... uh................"
Silence.
".....is this... an office?"
A: "Yes. We're a company."
Caller: "Okay........ can I talk to somebody?"
A: "Do you want to talk to a recruiter? Are you looking for work?"
Caller: "Uh............ what? Oh. Yeah."
A: "Okay. Have you registered with us on our website yet?"
Caller: "I don't know what to do."
A: "Well, it's really easy. I tried it myself, the site just guides you through."
Silence for about thirty seconds. "Hello?"
Caller: "Uh..... yeah.... so ...... you're a staffing company?"
A: "That's right."
Caller:"Ok. What kind of staffing?"
A: "Professional-level IT positions."
Caller: "Oh. What's that?"
A: "Computer stuff. Like Java developers, QA analysts, that sort of thing."
Silence for another half-minute. "Are you still there?"
Caller: "Yeah. It's just.... um............."
Silence for another fifteen seconds. I decide to wait and see if she clues in. A full minute goes by and I give up. "Hello? Are you still there?"
Caller: "Yeah."
Silence.
A: "Do you have any more questions for me? Because I'm getting other calls."
Caller: "Oh. So, are you a company?"
A: "Yes. Like I said, we're an IT staffing company."
Caller: "Oh."
Another fifteen seconds of silence. The other lines are ringing. "Can you hold please? I have to get these other calls."
Another long silence.
A: "Hello?"
Caller: "Yeah."
A: "So. Do you have another questions for me?"
Caller: "I don't know."
A: "Well, I'm sorry but I'm really busy. Can you call me back when you think of other questions?"
Caller: "Uh.... wait. What company is this?"
A: "Sapphire Canada."
A full minute of silence this time. I time it on my watch. The other lines are ringing again. "Hello?"
Caller: "Mm-hm."
A: "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
Caller: "Hmmmm........"
I can almost hear the gears creak in her head as she tries to think. Another full minute of silence. The other line starts ringing again and I put her on hold. I spend about five minutes answering another infinitely more lucid inquiry, then reluctantly go back to my reality-impaired caller. "Okay. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Caller: "I... I don't know."
A: "Well, I have to go. Could you give me a call back when you have more questions?"
Caller: "Uh. I'm. thinking."
I've been on the blower for almost twenty minutes with this space cadet. "I'm sorry, I really can't wait. How about you write down some questions for me and call me later?"
Caller: "Uh... just a minute..."
A: "I'm sorry. I really have to go."
She's panicking now, rambling dreamily. "Wait a minute..... uh......... uh...... are you.... uh.... you're in an office, right?"
A: "Yes. I'm going now."
Caller: "Um...."
A:"Goodbye."

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