joys of being a telephonist (2004-12-15 - 5:22 p.m.)

Gaelic is a very strange language. Case in point: How would you pronounce these names?

Siobhan (though this is easier because it's fairly common)

See, this is very difficult to wrap my Anglicized brain around when someone calls for a person with a Gaelic name. Using the alphabetical database doesn't work too well! The answers, as far as I can tell, are

Ailbhe - AL-va
Aoife - E-fa
Eilidh - AY-lee
Niamh - NEVE
Shonagh - SHO-na
Siobhan - SHA-vonne

Ah yes, good times at the switchboard. Luckily we don't have too many of them, and they tend to have slightly more intuitive surnames!

The job is still okay, but there are some things that bother me (and I get at least two examples from each category per day).

1). People who call with no idea who they would like to speak to.

Caller: "Can I speak to Fiona please?"
Me: "Can you tell me her surname, please?"
Caller: "Fiona... Williams. Or Watson, maybe. Or hold on, I think her Christian name was actually Louise. I was just speaking to her. Just put me through!"
Me: {suppresses urge to scream, as we have 15 Fionas and at least six Louises...}

2). People who mumble a name and then shout at me when I ask them to repeat it. Or people who don't even have a name, but instead mumble a long story in an incomprehensible accent, from which I'm supposed to discern which of the 400 people at the firm they would like to speak to.

3). Asking me where someone is, or when they will be off the phone. "Certainly, sir, just a moment while I consult my crystal ball..." They want to know why the person isn't answering, where they are, why they didn't answer yesterday either, will they be back in by 5... I'm not sure they realize that I'm sitting in a room with opaque walls in a basement in Edinburgh. It's very difficult for me to be able to say if a partner in Glasgow has nipped out for lunch!

Oh well, all that aside the majority of people are quite pleasant. (Though they do mostly have difficult accents!) It's pretty easy money. I just wish I had more hours. (My official job description is, in fact, "Telephonist"! tee hee).

I'm actually feeling much better this week. I've been in the gym every single day except Sunday, and I can definitely feel the difference. If I'm not getting proper exercise I feel slumped and flabby, and don't really feel like doing anything. If I am exercising, however, I feel strong and energetic. It's much better. Also, all the endorphins have a very nice anti-depressant effect. I feel much more like myself.

I tried Pilates this week. The first time it was basically moving your limbs a bit while squeezing in your tummy ("lateral breathing", so-called because you're supposed to force your chest out while contracting your abs in order to breathe). Today's was absolutely crazy hard-core ab work. (Lie on your back, lift your legs a foot off the ground and... hold them there for five minutes!) I'm going to be sore tomorrow. In a good way, though.

I also tried yoga, which was good fun and amazingly managed to completely remove the knot from my shoulder. I've been healed! Life is worth living again.

Went to dinner at Lysianne from Montreal's flat last night. Was pretty interesting. She made a pasta sauce calling for sour cream, so she substituted yogurt. (Result: interesting curdled texture, but edible.) Then for dessert, she was going to make lemon meringue pie. But she didn't have a piecrust or any meringue, and she didn't have lemon juice. So she made pie filling with mixed fruit juice substituting for lemon juice and just served it like that! It came out as a sort of runny pink pudding. I suspect she should give Helen Fielding a call, as she may be Bridget Jones' long-lost twin sister! It was really sweet of her to invite me, though, and I had a good time. (And tried not to tease her too much about the pink non-lemon pie-less pie!)

I think I'm glad that Lysianne is not planning to take up chemistry. With her penchant for substitutions, she could blow up the universe by mistake!

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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